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Thursday Staff Connect

Motivational Interviewing

Every second Thursday our Staff Connect meeting is all about Motivational Interviewing! Learn new skills and practice the ones you have. These meetings will be short and sweet and cover basic MI topics in a group setting where we can have a conversation and practice with each other. 

Every second Thursday at 1 PM 

What happened last time we met...
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Four Elements Of The Spirt Of MI 



In a therapeutic relationship using MI, it is important to remind ourselves that the client is the expert of their own experience and that our intention is to honor their experiences, perspectives, and choices…even if they may be different from our own. In order for change to occur and for change to be sustainable, we know that the client must do the “heavy lifting” and our role is to provide guidance and support through this process. It is a collaboration between two individuals who have a lot to offer each other. An example used by Miller and Rollnick is that the conversation is like sitting together on a sofa and the client is sharing with you their life photo album. The practitioner asks questions from time to time, but mostly, the practitioner listens to the client’s unfolding, attempting to understand and see the world through their eyes rather than influencing them with their personal values and agenda.


Motivational Interviewing has a deep connection to the work of Carl Rogers, and especially as it relates to the profound acceptance of the client…again, not that the practitioner always agrees or approves of the client’s actions but that the practitioner always honors the inherent worth and potential of every human being encountered. There are four aspects of acceptance:


1) Absolute Worth

a. Rogers termed the phrase “unconditional positive regard” against an attitude of judgment and placing conditions on worth…since when one feels they are unacceptable, their ability to change is diminished…but if one feels accepted just as they are, they are free to change.


2) Accurate Empathy

a. Being as genuine as possible as a practitioner and taking an active interest in attempting to understand the client’s internal perspective on experience is Accurate Empathy. It is “to sense the client’s inner world of private personal meanings as if it were your own, but without ever losing the ‘as if’ quality” (Rogers, 1989).


3) Autonomy Support

a. It is unlikely for a client to change their behavior if they are told what to do and how to it…or for a practitioner to believe they are able to make people change. There is much more likelihood for change to occur if the practitioner acknowledges a person’s freedom to choose and a belief that each human being has what is needed to do so.


4) Affirmation

a. This is being intentional about acknowledging the client’s strengths and efforts and not about what is “wrong” with someone and telling them how things can be fixed. An affirmation is not praise like “great job” but rather a genuine acknowledgment of how the client “persevered” in a situation or “prioritized” something important to them. Affirmations are more about the person than the behavior.



Since our primary goal in MI is to be of service to someone considering behavior change, the cultivation of compassion, or the commitment to pursue the welfare and best interests of another, is essential. A practitioner does not need to suffer with a client in order to act with compassion, as it is more about actively promoting the other’s welfare and giving priority to their needs. Interestingly, the promotion of others’ welfare is often an important motivation for many of us in the helping professions.



When individual change is being considered in many settings, there is often a focus on deficits…and what the person is lacking that needs to be installed. And in a therapeutic setting, the practitioner can often be seen as the person who can assess what is missing and provide it to the client, whether it is knowledge, insight, or skills. There is a very different premise in MI; a belief that each individual already has what they need within them, and that our role, as practitioners, is to evoke it or bring it out. An example of this is thinking about ambivalence and the likely scenario that each individual often has motivations to change and motivations to continue maintaining a particular behavior. Therefore, as a practitioner, we attempt to evoke and strengthen these motivations to change that already exist.

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October 2020

Below are the links to the videos we watched in our last meet up.

Lifting the Burden in Motivational Interviewing with founder Bill

Motivational Interviewing: Conversations About Change


Also, color-coded examples of Change Talk / Sustain Talk as we saw in the video. 

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