So, You Are Stuck…Great!

Life is about change.

If only it was easy.

Because life is about change we get stuck.

Sometimes, we get miserably, and hopelessly stuck. Or, so it seems.

Again, why do I say “great”?

It depends on how you look at it. We often think of being stuck – not knowing where to go, feeling two ways about something, being ambivalent - as being “bad”; we should have changed already.

But I look at it another way.

For those of us practicing Motivational Interviewing, being ambivalent (“stuck”) is all part of the change process. Yes, one could be resolved and changed, but it’s also the case, someone could be unstuck, uncomfortable and unchanged. One could be completely without conflict, insight and awareness, yet experiencing ongoing problems, living an unhealthy life, and/or being unfulfilled.

So, being stuck is often where we are as we go from the “status quo” to a place of change. Most often, we know the change will be for the better, but we think we should have it resolved and we should be changed NOW!

Oh, if only it were that easy! Getting from non-change to change usually means going through the uncomfortable and messy marsh of ambivalence. Rarely, do any of us automatically change a behavior or thought just declaring we will. Change is a growth process, and as we know, growth isn’t always comfortable.

Given this perspective, I congratulate the ambivalent among us. Most of these stuck folk are in a state of change. It is the job of the Motivational Interviewing practitioner to join the traveler on the journey and guide her or him to the other side – toward health, recovery, and potential.

Given this perspective, I look forward to getting to know and engaging with ambivalence – however and wherever it shows up.


Miller, W. R. and Rollnick. Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, 3rd Ed. New York: Guilford, 2013.

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