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Let’s talk Affirmations in Motivational Interviewing!
You don’t want to miss this one! In this podcast we explore affirmations in Motivational Interviewing.
Listen up as we discuss:
- The different type of Affirmations
- Reflections vs. Affirmations
- Praise vs. Affirmations
and much more!
Want a Transcript?
All right. Hello everyone. And welcome to the communication solution with us here, the MIguys, and we are here to help you empower the individuals, organizations, and communities that you serve as always. And to do that today, we have. That’s some of you might know about cold affirmations and we’re going to dig into affirmations today from a variety of angles and for a variety of reasons.
So that’s, as far as I understand, but anything else, Tammy, for adding. Well, before we get started, I wanted to make sure everyone knows who’s on the line here. We’ve got John Gilbert who is hosting this party today. We’ve got Casey Jackson and I’m leading the party today. And I have Tami Calais who was also also participating.
But yes, today we are talking about affirmations in Motivational Interviewing. So affirmations are, it’s kind of a big topic. I know we talk about it in our trainings but I [00:01:00] wanted to dive a little bit deeper into affirmations and maybe like, you know, where did they first come from? You know, what’s the difference between affirmation and praise?
I think that’s a common one that’s gets kind of mixed up, but we can go also a lot of different directions too. So. Does anyone have a place that we want to start this conversation? Yeah. Tammy, just from what you said, you know, even from the part, I think it’s great for us to look at the difference between a affirmations and praise.
I think there’s parts that we can get lost in semantics. And I think there’s parts where it is very helpful to kind of split things out. So we are using what we’re talking about accurately and effectively, you know, the way we traditionally train it at IFIOC. The difference fundamentally between, do you want compliance or do you want behavior change?
And even though they sound nice, praise is nice. It’s not mean it’s not, it’s not [00:02:00] with a whip and a chair that you’re praising people. It’s, there’s nice and there’s reinforcement to it. But one of the things that we look at is the praise kind of agreeing, approving of people, praising them. It tends to be that we’re reinforcing that their behavior is something that we liked.
Or that somebody else needs to see or the system wants them to do. And we tend to praise people for that. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t praise them for doing what they want to do, but praise really is that. I’m grant, I’m granting you. I’m approving I’m I’m I’m my status gives more credence to your status.
You know that I can see it, that I’m witnessing it and I’m going to praise you for that. And then I’m going to keep saying it’s not bad. It’s not bad. It’s structurally different in the way the brain processes that then the way an affirmation does, the reason why we look so much at affirmations is because the whole.
In motivational interviewing is we’re trying to facilitate and foster longer-term sustained behavior change. So when you get into [00:03:00] praising people, you can reinforce a pattern. Where, when they feel praise from you that they want to seek that from you more often, that approval are they, do you see that I’m good at doing a good job and you know, which we see even, even with, you know, kids on the dance, little kids on a dance floor, a little kids in a softball game or something like that.
It’s like as soon as they do something, the first thing they do is look in the stands to make sure mom dad’s side and good job, good job. And, and, and again, that’s not bad. It reinforces behavior. But does it create longterm sustained change? And affirmation is how do you build that structure from within, and you build that structure from within is that that narrative starts to become an internal narrative.
And when it’s an internal narrative, then you, you use that to support a sense of self efficacy. You use it to develop a sense of personal agency, and then I’m sure John’s going to dive into they’re just all there’s so much research about self-affirmation. And so [00:04:00] the, the, the road that you start on to build self-affirmation is on the road from affirmation, which is way further down the line than just praise.
Well, real quick, before we move on too fast. So I do want to take a moment for those that don’t know what self-efficacy is. Can we take a moment to explain that. Yeah. I mean, and I don’t know, I don’t study it exclusively, so there could be others things beyond what I’m about to say, but I know it deals with the sense of, do I feel able to make a change happen?
Do I have the ability and sense of confidence to make that change happen? And to what degree? I feel able in a sense of confidence. A way of thinking about self-efficacy. And so one way to think about how much am I addressing self-efficacy in a conversation is how much am I calling out abilities that I see within the person?
How much am I calling out that when you put your mind to [00:05:00] something you’ve been successful or guiding towards, which aren’t necessarily affirmations, but things about past successes are classic in MI. What, when have you been in difficult situations in the past site? Been able to make it through you’re addressing their abilities and them to talk about that.
Right. So that’s the self-efficacy and in terms of affirmation, it’s calling those things out and making those things from, and I just wanted to highlight that as another level, or just another point to what Casey was talking about, which is. To pat someone on the head or to prize something as you kind of put it out in some of those old slides, Casey, we used to talk about the Latin root means to prize of praise and the Latin root of affirmation is to affirming, to make firm.
So in the case of self-efficacy you could make from that someone has the ability to put their mind to something and be successful. Or you could make from that they have more within them than they [00:06:00] realize they have so much in them that they’ve demonstrated or that, you know, they know that they could do.
And that is really, those are the sorts of affirmations that make from self-efficacy, but you could make from a lot of other things like personal agency and some other things we could get into as well. So another weird thing that I’d say just to kind of round that out from what John said is when you just look at the words, self efficacy, it’s just efficacy is to be effective.
Do I think I have the capacity to be effective with this? Do I have the ability to exert control over my own motivation or my behavior or my environment? And, and where’s my confidence in that the, where do I feel I can be effective? And the stronger, the self-efficacy obviously the more we feel solid in our personhood in, in, in the way that we, we navigate, you know, relationships, situations, you know, things like that.
So that’s how I’d [00:07:00] run it out too. It just, when you look at the word self efficacy, Can I be effective? Do I have the capacity to be effective? In whatever I’m doing with my thoughts, my emotions, my behaviors. Can it be effective with that? So has anyone compared, cause as you guys talk about it affirmations and empowerment, because I feel like those are, are very similar also.
Cause I feel like affirmations in Motivational Interviewing create empowerment. Yes. Yes. Casey, I’m curious for you to talk about this in relation to long-term change here in a sec. I just want to say this while it’s on my mind that I know I, at one point I talked about with Dr. Susan Butterworth for, you know, if we ever change anything in the MC in the future that changing, supporting autonomy and activation to be empowerment, because that’s so much of what you’re doing.
You’re putting the responsibility back in the choice in a supportive way. Yeah. Activation, which we’ll talk about later, the affirmation and everything like that back into their lap. And all of that is [00:08:00] this umbrella of empowering the individual as Casey, Utah. Me, maybe if it’s an umbrella metaphor, one way to empower with a piece.
You know, one of the spokes holding up the umbrella is affirmation and there are other things you could do to empower people. But affirmation is definitely under what I might, you know, use that metaphor of yours, Casey, under the umbrella of empowerment, but there are other things you can do to empower as well.
But I am curious kind of how you would use that. What Tammy brought up Casey for long-term change with, with affirmations and empowerment as well. I think empowerment. I think that there are the things that go hand in glove and which fits under which umbrella, when we’re thinking about self self-efficacy and empowerment affirmations, I think of the strategy.
It is such a specific technique. To do an affirmation in Motivational Interviewing. It’s how [00:09:00] do I frame this in a way with inside this person’s worldview, that their behavior is getting them, that, which they want that process is an empowering process, but the strategy I’m using for that is specifically, how am I, how am I opening my mouth and forming words?
That’s that’s a strategic intervention. That’s an affirmation in Motivational Interviewing. You’re, you know, you’re providing this statement, this witnessing that creates empowerment. And so I think there’s the, I think it’s you and Dr. Butterworth were talking about, you know, you know, modifying supporting autonomy and activation into empowerment.
That is more of that umbrella of what we’re trying to orchestrate or what are we trying to, you know, Spark within this, into, in this individual in a mindful way, not in a passive way, but in a mindful way. And I think this is where you go into some specific skills, like affirmations to do that, which when you, when you listen through that narrative, you can [00:10:00] see how something like praise loses a little bit of potency to praise someone doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s empowering.
It feels like it may be acknowledging, but it doesn’t have that empowerment sense to it. That an affirmation in Motivational Interviewing strategically is attempting to do. This is empowering. That’s that’s a powerful, succinct, insignificant differentiation, acknowledging versus empowering. And on that note. So first of there’s two things that come to mind with that.
I’m curious, Casey for you to use this. I don’t know if it’s an analogy or metaphor, but with that mirror versus, you know, witnessing versus doing the reflection, I do want to set that up, but before. Lose this thought there was a thought that went through that you had just talked about a different style of affirmation of highlighting that their behaviors are getting them what they want and setting up self-efficacy in that way and witnessing that, which might be different than witnessing their strengths and calling.
Which might be different than [00:11:00] witnessing or calling out their abilities or their personal agency, you sense of control and stepping up and taking control. So we can get into the different flavors and anyone that finds that helpful that’s listening or watching us, please let us know, and we will dive and geek out as you know we can, but I am Casey on what you just said.
Curious about what’s the difference with that metaphor of acknowledging and, and witnessing versus. Witnessing and empowering, and that whole thing kind of that I’m visually doing with them, the mirror that was so helpful for me know, I think that these concept and why we like to talk about them is because they are so complex.
And I think sometimes language does get difficult that we do get into semantics to make it more clear that with the whole mirror analogy. The reason that Marin algae came up from me. And what John’s talking about is it evolved for me of just doing like simple reflections in a complex reflections, then complex, reflections and affirmations.
And when I use the construct of a mirror, it’s like, if you just take the mirror, that’s on the back of your [00:12:00] bedroom door and look at that, that’s just kind of a, a full length, flat mirror. And that’s. And that’s accuracy to it, but you can also be in like a 360 degree mirror, like we’ve talked about before, like with what not to wear or shows like that, where it’s just like all of a sudden somebody catches an angle going, wow, I did not.
Notice that about myself or what I’ve been talking about. People, I think aging process is even, you know, walking down the street by a department store and there’s, you know, all of a sudden you catch your reflection in a window and you’re like, whoa, that’s me. Like it just, that is, to me, that’s strategic.
That’s way more than just a simple reflection. What we’re talking about with and this word equipoise came into it as well too. Is that when we, and this, this whole evolution is thought and affirmation is. If people see me holding the mirror, they tend to look at me more than they look at the mirror, which is why the poison righting reflex are so important.
So if I hold a mirror up and I say, so you think that looks okay on you? And I’m doing it as a reflective statement. The person’s like, well, you’re [00:13:00] kind of a. Instead of holding a mirror up and saying, you know, so you think that looks okay on you and they look in the mirror and they’re like, I think, well, maybe I don’t like this part of it, but I, but for the most part, I think I look okay, so their brain is talking to them, not my brain talking to them.
So this is how we moved into more complex reflections with affirmations in Motivational Interviewing. What you’re using strategically then is you want them to catch an angle to themselves where they go, I am. I do have the self-efficacy. I do have the capacity to do this, and sometimes we don’t see it in our day-to-day life. Just like we can see ourselves in the mirror every single day.
And one day in the mirror, we look at ourselves and go, who the heck is this looking at me right now? And you’ve looked in the same mirror the same way for a year. And all of a sudden you catch an angle in your life. Oh my God. Do I really look like this it, and I think it’s the, the, the proactive side of that, that in our day-to-day lives, especially in our, the way the world has changed.
I think it is harder for people to do that self witnessing. [00:14:00] And so we have the capacity to strategically, like, how do I hold this up in a way that they see deeper into themselves? And they see their self efficacy. They see this well, Of a potential and the desire to feel that that strong sense of empowerment to me, that that is different than holding up a reflective.
Even a complex reflection that goes so much deeper. Yes. And then what is it and what does it yield to? I think that’s why it’s so important to me, it’s it goes so much deeper. And then what is the yield? The yield is beyond feeling heard and understood the yield is that you see this pilot light, just jump up.
Well, I mean, I’m, I’m kind of thinking about that in reality, you know, praise, good job, Tammy, for running that a hundred yards versus an affirmation. You’ve realized that your body has the ability and strength to do this on your own, like that. Builds so much more [00:15:00] within you to go. Yeah. Yes. And the beauty of that, like you were just using it.
When we think of practical, like phrasing, you know, you realize you have this within you, you know, that your body is capable of more. Then what, you know, has been put to it and you know, that you could put more into it that you have the ability to make that happen and how you phrase that can have more or less potency.
And obviously that takes practice. You know, I would defer to Casey has probably been significantly more potent than me at affirmations in Motivational Interviewing with his background, but there’s, if your intention is to make from things within. There’s going to be a sense of a yield. And I love that term because it’s not about just feel good conversation.
It’s not just from a theoretical basis that when you do these things, there are certain outcomes that are highly. And I can’t remember who it’s associated or correlated with them. There’s a yield to someone feeling differently. And then there’s a [00:16:00] yield to a difference in the long-term change, which I, which I love.
Casey, if you just speak to a little bit more. But the, the thing that I don’t want to skip over is that when you do these things, ability talk is a type of preparatory change, talk, absolutely desire, ability, reasons, and need. And so by doing an affirmation in Motivational Interviewing, you’re helping someone have a sense of ability, which can create change talk. So you’re, you’re doing two things at once, helping them with activation, which we could go deeper into and helping them with a sense of change as possible. And that’s what you were just feeling as that yield Tammy for that. So any, I wanted to highlight that and just also give the visual Casey of like, if you were holding up the mirror on the, or the mirror was being held by the back of that door, that’s different than basically someone calling out in that meeting.
Witnessing a strength witnessing an ability witnessing that you are getting to, [00:17:00] where you want to go is, is different when that’s called out versus. Something on your pants right now is by your knee, you know? And it’s just, they’re just different. And they yield different things, even though that might not be what was on the person’s radar, that’s about their knee and something they’re feeling or something important to them about their knee.
I don’t know. It’s a terrible example, but, or if you’re calling, we’re tracking your John we’re tracking. Yeah. Yeah. You get the point. But I just it’s, it’s that thing that we could get into and other podcasts and things. The initial example you used was a righting reflex of like, that’s what you’re wearing versus you’re witnessing.
And you’re trying to stay in equipoise, but call out something that’s empowering while still trying to stay in echo posts. I think that’s a fine line to walk versus judgment of good or bad. I also think that’s what you were implying there. That is another nuance of affirmations in Motivational Interviewing that I wanted to speak to as well.
You know, as you were talking about that, [00:18:00] What struck me are kind of the vision that went in my brain with that is deep, complex reflections. Go deep into how this person feels. Deep into what they want, what their deeper motives are. And that is, I mean, that’s just, that’s going to get into masterful, motivational, Ang, and where is where where’s the root source of sustained talk.
Where’s the root source of change. Talk very potent, very powerful and influential in dialogue. And so then you think, okay, then what, what is an Afro from that perspective? When you’re, when you’re talking to that mirror perspective? For me, what struck me is it’s when you were inside somebody else’s else’s reality and what the mirror shines on, is there immortal God or goddess inside of them?
You know, that when you’re, that is different than reflecting deep change talk or. You know, emotion or feeling you’re reflecting into that, that God or goddess inside of them. And, and you want to feed and foster and facilitate that coming to [00:19:00] life and, and, and just growing out of the person, you know, that, that, you know, that potency inside of them.
I hadn’t thought of it that way before what I’ve been kind of my, my mantra lately has been trying to, when I do that, am I in trauma classes is how do we engage? That’s super computer between the ears that every human being has. It may not be, not all the programs may be running or some of the apps may be damaged, but that is a frigging supercomputer between our ears.
And why do I think mine is better than yours? And why am I giving you advice and telling you how to do it? I would rather activate your supercomputer between your ear. And th and, and that whole process is not only cultivating change talk, but how do they have an awareness that they have the supercomputer between their ears when they don’t feel like they do a lot of the times?
Yeah. And that alone, Casey, when you can activate that, that brings so much, oh [00:20:00] my gosh. So much goodness to them, they feel so empowered. They feel so. Engaged. I mean, that’s yeah, that’s huge. W which ties, when you say that, tell me that is literally directly what we’re just talking about with self-advocacy.
When that comes to light, it’s like, oh, I have the capacity to be effective in my own life to be and create. And participate in the world in the way that I choose to, I have the capacity to do that. And I want to act on that capacity to do that. I’m empowered, activate on it. That’s where you can see this correlation with affirmation self-affirmation and how you start to see the impact on the empowerment and self-efficacy.
Yeah. Well, I know we might be coming to the time of this where there’s so many things we’ve touched on to expand on from activation to how affirmations in Motivational Interviewing really goes even deeper into long-term change and the different components of a personal agency and other components to what activation means and all that.
Like there’s so many things going on. [00:21:00] The one thing I’ve wanted to bring up here is that even in like the videos will show in our trainings, like I hit my father or some of these ones by some of these companies that have made. Videos is you have people that aren’t necessarily like, yay. I’m going to make this change.
Wonderful. And I feel incredible. I’m like an enemy, a person jumping up and down at the end of the, in my there’s a sense though, that there is this ability within them or some sense of control. There’s a sense of something that even if you used hypoth, even if you wanted to, you know, you could quit if you wanted to.
You’re just not sure. There’s there’s a focus that doesn’t always have to just be having that same feeling, but your intention is the same. Your intention is to call those things out and really call and speak to that supercomputer goddess ability. However you think about it within the person that they have this sense within them, that [00:22:00] change.
There’s if with their abilities and confidence and or that they could have an influence on it. And I say that too, because in that video of, I hit my. He doesn’t realize certain things about the program. And just so people know it’s my father hit me. Not that I hit my father a couple of times. I’m like, I’m thinking people might get a little confused, but yeah.
People know you’re talking about, but yeah, he never hit his father cause his father would have directed me sentence. So. So maybe they got in fights. So we just ended up, it’s going to be very rough projection. John. We never know I’ll have to listen back to the recording. Cause I don’t think I just,
anyways, the point being is that he, he has this, these preconceived notions of how the world works or how these classes work. And then he gets this sense of resolve within him that this really matters. There’s some [00:23:00] affirmation esque, things that happen after that. If he has the ability to make this.
And then she brings in information that helps him have an informed choice with that ability. And I want to just give voice to that right now with so many things happening in the world. So many echo chambers of different thoughts and opinions about so many things that we can give people the ability to make change happen.
And still there’s a place to talk and discuss about things, knowing that they can still make changes in their community or whatever they want to do to change the world. And our whole goal with affirmations in Motivational Interviewing is to highlight that ability. They have highlight those, those things they have within them while still guiding towards possibility and for them to make an informed choice based off of who they want to be, and that they can be that if they want.
And I just wanted to highlight that because just because we’re focusing on ability or just because we’re focusing on affirmations doesn’t mean everyone always. Always the most informed choices, [00:24:00] including myself. So I just wanted to highlight that as we’re coming to a close. Love it. Thank you so much, John.
Anything else that Tammy you had, or Casey as we’re wrapping up here for this one.
Okay. Got it. Well, thank you everyone for listening. Hopefully this was worth your time and we touched on a variety of things. If there’s anything in here that you would like us to touch more on. In a podcast or we’re now starting these micro courses, Tammy, that you can talk about. Anything that would be helpful.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And we would love to address it in a podcast or even inviting people on the podcast. Now, if you’re interested in that as well as then those micro courses, if you’re interested in that they’re like five or 10 minutes on different topics. We have a lot of other resources at IFIOC.com and we’re rolling out a whole new set of classes in [00:25:00] 2022 now other resources that you can we’ll think of before.
I just want to make sure the micro courses are in our memberships. So make sure to check that out. And then also if you want to learn specifically more about affirmations checkout, our advanced trainings or the skill building classes, those are great. Well, as always, we are here to provide the communication solution that will change your world, and hopefully today helped with that.
So anyhow, wishing you all. And take care. See you next time. Thank you. Thanks, bye.
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Check out this video on Agreeing vs. Affirmations in Motivational Interviewing
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