Training Seminar on Motivational Interviewing

(posted 04/01/2010)

 

From 16 - 18 December 2009, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers from methadone programmes in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania attended a training workshop on motivational interviewing. Training was conducted by Dieter Carlsson and Daniel Ruseborn from Maria Ungdom, Adolescent Substance Abuse Clinic in Stockholm, using a training module developed under UNODC Treatnet ( www.unodc.org/treatnet ).

Motivational interviewing is a directive, patient-centred counselling style that aims to help patients explore and resolve their ambivalence about health-related behaviour change. It combines elements of style (warmth and empathy) with technique (e.g. focused reflective listening and the development of discrepancy). A core tenet of the technique is that the patient's motivation to change is enhanced if there is a gentle process of negotiation in which the patient, not the practitioner, articulates the benefits and costs involved. A strong principle of this approach is that conflict is unhelpful and that a collaborative relationship between therapist and patient, in which they tackle the problem together, is essential. Instead of trying to fix the patient's health problem by forceful instruction, therapists need to use warmth and respect to persuade the patient to want to change. The aim is twofold: to increase the importance of change and to bolster the patient's confidence that change can happen. Motivational interviewing helps change patterns of behaviour that have become habitual. It works in small doses to produce large effect.

 

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