If you have even a small track record of helping people change, you are familiar with the dynamics regarding change: client presents with problem (often precipitated by a crisis), becomes aware of compelling reasons to adopt a healthier lifestyle or cease harmful behaviours, and then hems and haws, straddling the fence with incomprehensible ambivalence.
Persuading the client with logic, browbeating them by outlining dire consequences if behaviour is not immediately changed, pulling rank as “the expert”, or even describing in glowing terms the wonderful life they can have if they adopt the good advice often come – frustratingly and bewilderingly – to nothing. Some of these strategies, in fact, have the opposite effect, building resistance and/or undermining the therapeutic relationship which could facilitate the change. Thus, commitment to a motivational interviewing approach must be accompanied by a clear sense of the operating principles, fleshed out with equally clear skills utilisation.
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