Fact vs. Myth: Motivational Interviewing is manipulation
Myth: Motivational Interviewing is a communication method that is grounded in equipoise. The root of Motivational Interviewing is to be as neutral and unbiased as possible, and to focus more on the client hearing themselves rather than the practitioner sharing their opinions.
Like with anything in our world, people can distort and misuse well intentioned practices to manipulate, but the heart of Motivational Interviewing is to do the complete opposite of that. One of our recent students Michelle had a revelation in our class when she realized, “Motivational Interviewing is really about….they remember less of what I said, and more what they said to themselves” Yes Michelle! That is exactly it!
What often gets misunderstood is the depth of empathy involved in Motivational Interviewing. When training and coaching on deep empathy, trying to help teach individuals to get out of their own heads and into the head of their client, some people get uncomfortable as they don’t want to feel like they are putting words in someone else’s mouth.
We don’t want anyone putting words in someone else’s mouth either! Instead of putting words in their mouth, lets try and “give words to what could possibly be going on within the clients experience”-Casey Jackson. From there the client will either feel completely heard and understood or correct us, but either way we will know more about where THEIR head is at.
Communication challenge: Try and focus less on what YOU have to say, and focus more on what the other person is trying to say.
If you want to learn more about equipoise check out our Introduction to Motivational Interviewing class
Want to hear more about this? Check out our podcast on “Motivational Interviewing and Manipulation”