Do you ever wake up in the morning with a heavy responsibility of solving the world’s problems? Clients comes to you in distress and are in want of help, answers, and direction…or are they? What are they really needing from you? Do they really want advice and direction?
Bernard Williams states “unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.”
Sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear, empathy, attention and maybe direction in a way that makes sense to them.
So how do you respond in a helpful way?
- Come alongside with some reflections that demonstrate an understanding of their situation and the value of where they want to go
- Emphasize autonomy that whatever they decide to do is their choice
- Apologize if you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot or are trying to lead them somewhere they don’t want to go
Stay away from getting to “the plan” and listen to what their focus is and then evoke what their goals, values or concerns look like. Why do they really want to go about making this desired change? If they were living according to their values what would that look like?
If you use some of these ways of “being” in motivational interviewing the plan will emerge. Your clients will be the ones talking about change and you yourself will leave your office much more satisfied. You’ll wake up feeling lighter before you ever put your foot on the ground.