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What do I really do for a living?

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Well, I am passionate about motivation and change. My job is to train and coach helping professionals in evidence-based practice to help their clients make changes in their lives. I truly believe that everyone has the desire and motivation to take steps towards their goals. I have seen it happen many times in my previous employment in the criminal justice system but also every day in my training and coaching groups and private counselling practice.

I want to tell you the story of one client named Alice, with whom I worked with many years ago. She was serving a long sentence for a violent offence. Throughout her life, she faced so many challenges.

· Addiction to amphetamines and alcohol since her tween years

· Committed crimes to fund her addictions

· Suffered from depression, suicidal behaviour, and anxiety

· Lost custody of her two children

· Lived in several abusive relationships

· Had extremely low self-esteem

Today, she is 8 years sober. She is “happy”, has reconnected with her children who are now young adults, works at a job which she loves, and has a wonderful relationship with a loving fiancé.

These were her words when I asked her to describe what helped her achieve this transformation.

“I hope you understand how much it means to me when you really LISTEN to me. You don’t JUDGE me when I show my weaknesses. You humbly and carefully teach me and help me find my new key, a new tool to use to change my life.”

What did I do?

  • I listened to her.

  • I accepted her as a person – warts and all.

  • I helped her to help herself – she discovered the key to change her life.

  • I guided her to find her own way – I was her lighthouse.

This is the POWER of Motivational Interviewing (MI). In our sessions, Alice found her way out of a life of addiction, crime, and mental illness.

So, what is Motivational Interviewing (MI)?

MI is a particular way of talking with people about change and growth (the MI spirit), to strengthen their own motivation and commitment. It’s a collaborative counselling style based on four cornerstones: partnership/collaboration, empowerment, compassion, and acceptance.

MI spirit

Partnership (collaboration): An active collaboration, or “team spirit” involves viewing someone as a unique person with their own knowledge, experience and ideas that can complement your knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

Empowerment: Believing in another’s positive resources and then helping others realize, appreciate and utilize their own strengths and abilities.

Compassion: Showing compassion involves being present during another’s struggle, as well as feeling motivated to help alleviate their pain. Compassion is showing kindness and respect for another person’s needs and putting their needs ahead of your own

Acceptance: Acceptance means being non-judgmental of another person and their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. It involves meeting another person at their level, on their playing field. Acceptance does not mean condoning or necessarily agreeing with another’s behaviour or opinions. Acceptance also involves understanding and respecting another’s right to make their own choices and decisions.

How do you convey the spirit of MI in your daily conversations?

Have a great day!

Jennifer from NovoVia


Still curious about MI?

Do you like to play cards? Buy my MI Spirit card game and discuss MI's spirit together with your co-workers. Buy the game here.

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