As a trainer and practitioner of Motivational Interviewing, I hear this a lot when I introduce myself and ask what brings someone to my office.
Of course, I also hear, “I’m here because (mom, probation officer, principal, boyfriend…. fill in the blank….) wants me to get motivated.”
To want to be motivated, even to want-to-want to be motivated, is an important step to doing something new, and that is what Motivational Interviewing (MI) is all about. But it might not be exactly what you think.
I usually clarify that I’m not a motivational speaker, and that MI isn’t going to transform one’s personality into some kind of Eager Beaver. At its most basic and elegant, Motivational Interviewing is a way to have a conversation about change.
Everyone is oriented toward some aspect of change. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be at my office.
I see my job as doing the following:
Facilitate the conversation from how things are now to the person’s desired change.
Help someone figure what the desired change is in the first place - some of us know…some of us can use some guidance or focus.
Uncover and use a person’s strengths and resources. When we harness strengths, we can use them to tackle problems. Just knowing our problems isn’t enough for many of us to change. In fact, ONLY
focusing on the problems de-motivates us! What a bummer.
When we figure out where we want to go, we find ways to get there that are reasonable, realistic, desired and flexible. I help figure out what steps to change looks like and it’s different for everyone.
I come to each session excited by potential. We all have problems. I enjoy helping to uncover the unique paths to your steps toward change instead of spending lots of time analyzing the problems.
I look forward to all conversations that lead to change. The conversations likely won’t be loud, dramatic barn-burning speeches. Instead, they will likely honor the specialness of what appears to be mundane and pull forth what is effective and powerful in moving you forward.
Miller, W.R. and Rollnick, S. Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, 3rd Edition. New York: Guilford, 2013.