As nutrition professionals, we are dedicated to our field and passionate about sharing information with others. We see opportunities to ameliorate health disparities, help people be more fit…live long and prosper. And yet day after day despite our best efforts and our most precise sharing of facts, our clients fail to adopt behavior change.
Sometimes we blame them. They didn’t have enough desire. They were lacking in willpower. Sometimes we blame ourselves for not giving them the motivation, or perhaps we weren’t clear enough in our instruction. Or maybe we feel like they just didn’t understand what we were telling them.
If this sounds familiar, consider ending the blame game and altering your approach. Consider Motivational Interviewing or MI. Motivational Interviewing is a counseling style that focuses on collaboration and a step wise approach to long term behavior change. It’s not about righting everything that is wrong, fixing all your clients' problems, and giving them a ton nutrition information. It is about exploring ambivalence, listening for change talk, and resisting the urge to do the “brain dump” of transferring everything you've learned in your 5 plus years of education to your client. And it does take a lot of practice.
It takes a lot of practice, because it uses a variety of moves. It’s like dancing. And like dancing, sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. So, if you’re interested in working on your dance moves and trying a new, highly rewarding counseling style, consider taking a lesson. One excellent instructor is Molly Kellogg. You can register for her monthly newsletter sans charge at http://www.mollykellogg.com/index.html#subscribe