Last week I had the opportunity to attend and assist in a Motivational Interviewing workshop in Portland, Maine with Stephen Andrew, who is one of the “trainer of trainers” as he’s been training in MI for over 20 years.
It was a life-changing experience for me and I learned many wonderful things during those 3 days, which are worth sharing over time on this blog so here’s the beginning.
If we meet people where they are at, we stay and remain with them in the problem.
Focusing on the problem just reinforces it and focusing on the dream changes the whole dynamics of a conversation.
In MI there are 3 components we focus on: presence, delight or interest in someone’s story, and curiosity, comparable to a delicious beef stew.
You need a wonderful tasting broth, which is your presence of being with someone. Your interest and delight in their story is the vegetables and meat and your curiosity is the spices.
Without the spices the stew is too bland, while too much spice destroys the dish. Good chefs cook to the palates of others and not to themselves. All three components are essential to having a conversation and understanding of another’s story.
In MI our mantra needs to be: I am right here for you right now.
In addition, the nature of the conversation is critical: what we say, how we say it, and watching how our conversation “lands” on the client largely determines what happens next.
What we say matters.
We have compassion and empathy by seeing the world through another person’s eyes, while having the ability to sit with suffering in hope’s of strengthening a person’s own motivation for change.
- “I wonder what this change might look like for you”
- “What do you think you’ll do next?”
In helping others see the dream, ambivalence is addressed, and we are writing the recipe of savory stew for our clients to feast on…with layers of delicious spices that linger for a lifetime of change in the making.