Motivational Interviewing

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, The Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative hosted a dynamic Motivational Interviewing training seminar facilitated by Kate Watson. “Motivational Interviewing is a particular type of conversation that focuses on behavior change” (Watson, 2016, P. 5). It is used across a variety of professions including: Healthcare, social work, human services, education, and the list goes on. It allows one to connect more deeply with clients, thereby affirming positive behavior changes. Motivational Interviewing (MI) promotes working side-by-side with clients to promote change rather than trying to push or pull someone to change. It relies heavily on reflective listening, open-ended questions, affirmations, and summaries. Let’s see MI in action.

Here is an excerpt from the interactive Motivational Training Exercises facilitated by Kate Watson: “A social worker is dealing with a client who is seeking a job. The client, Mark, comes to the office feeling defeated. He tells the social worker that he did not get the job he applied for. The social worker replies, yeah but I think it’s great that you tried and gave it your best effort” (Watson, 2016). This is an example of MI. Instead of saying better luck next time, or the economy is bad, the social worker affirmed the actions of his or her client; thereby motivating him to continue job searching and directly countering the feelings of defeat. Motivational Interviewing also allows the worker to identify the desire, ability, reason, and level of commitment to change. This is an effective tool for many professionals in the workplace, or even in your personal life. For example, emergency meal sites may engage in Motivational Interviewing when providing counseling homeless guest in need of housing referrals, job training, human services, and etc. Meals site may also use Motivational Training to teach staff how to be more sensitive to the needs of guests.

Many of the training participants expressed that they felt empowered; they felt that the seminar was excellent; and are eager to continue learning about Motivational Interviewing. Others expressed, that the seminar made them more mindful of interactions between their own staff and clients. For more information and to register for upcoming trainings hosted by the Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative, please visit United for Impact’s website.

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