This book has been on my bookshelf for a few years. I've opened it a few times, hoping to read it. It's a bit dry, so my attention has always faded. It's a book that is recommended reading by Precision Nutrition as being a good resource for helping people achieve the change THEY want in their lives.
WHAT IS MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING?
The first definition they give (they have three levels of definition throughout the book) is "Motivational interviewing is a collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change." Note the word "own." My goal has always been to rely on each person to know what they want and to empower them (yes, that's where the studio name came from) to make the changes they want to make.
Everyone ultimately knows what's "good" and "bad" for them (though I do not often use these judgmental terms). It's the putting-it-into-practice part that is the difficult part. This is due to ambivalence. This (and this is detailed in the book) is the desire to change and to stay the same at the same time. Good coaches will help you work through your ambivalence by asking good questions. It is not the coach's job to tell you what's bad or good. What's good for me might be bad for you.
**Please note, again, that I do not love the terms "bad" and "good," but they are a simple way to illustrate this concept.
YOU CAN'T MAKE ME
I recently noticed a very visceral response to someone who gave an opinion to me after I asked her to give it. She was telling me that she felt I shouldn't do something that I was ambivalent about. I wanted to do it AND I didn't want to do it. The funny thing was, when she told me she didn't think I should do it, I felt the bottom drop out of my stomach, and I immediately felt a sort of angry resentment that she had said what she did.
This is what happens when a well-meaning coach tells a client that they should or shouldn't do something. If you come to me and tell me that you want to lose weight but you really love to eat, I hear ambivalence. If I tell you that you should eat 1300 calories per day and exercise 4-5 days per week, your reaction will likely be first, to say that you already know this will help. Second, you may experience a bit of resistance. You'll immediately start thinking about the things you'll have to cut out of your diet, and you'll start worrying about how you're going to fit all that exercise into your busy life.
THE EMPOWERED WELLNESS WAY
My work with clients involves listening and trying to really hear what they are telling me. I want to know where you are and where you want to go. My job is to find a way to get you from here to there.
Picture the above scenario, but with a different approach from the coach. You tell me that you'd like to lose weight, and that you love to eat.
In order to get at the root of what's happening in your brain, using the MI method, I'll ask these questions (which Precision Nutrition has modified slightly and uses in its materials):
1. Why would you want to make this change?
2. How might you go about it in order to succeed?
3. What are the three best reasons for you to do it?
4. How important is it for you to make this change, and why?
5. What do you think you'll do next?
This is empowering you, the client, to think about why you want to do something and why it's important. If you can tip the scales toward the "I want to lose weight" side in terms of what you think is more important, then we can start implementing some changes that will move you toward losing weight.
I'm only on page 19 of 482, so I still have quite a bit of learning to go. I'm looking forward to sharing this cool new knowledge with my clients and you!
(See the fire in the background?? It's our new fireplace! I'm loving working right by it. So cozy!!!)