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Teaching Tools 2 - A Motivational Interview Approach for Secondary Staff and Students

Teaching Tools 2 - A Motivational Interview Approach for Secondary Staff and Students

Tina Rae


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Motivational Interviewing (MI) was originally developed by Miller and Rollnick (1991, 2002) and was defined as a person-centred, directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change by exploring and resolving ambivalence. Unlike non-directive counselling, this approach has been described as more focused and goal-directed. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is the key purpose and the facilitator adopting this approach will therefore be intentionally directive in pursuing this goal. Motivational Interviewing is a counselling technique originally developed within medical settings in order to support individuals with addiction problems. It is a powerful tool for use with young people who may not always wish to change their behaviours or have strong reasons why they wish to maintain certain behaviours. A central premise was that people are not always ready to change their patterns of behaviour and the approach does not presume or assume that people actually want to change particular aspects of their behaviour. Behaviour change is, in effect, reliant upon the individual’s motivation.Change is motivated by a perceived discrepancy between present beliefs and important personal goals or values. Overall, it is the student who is responsible for choosing and carrying out the change. Using Motivational Interviewing with Young People In the school context concerns regarding an individual student’s behaviour may well have come from a third part, for example, a parent, teacher, mentor. The young person concerned may not be motivated to change his behaviour and may not share the same aspirations or goals as these concerned adults. This resource is consequently aimed at students in order to encourage them to explore their own patterns of behaviour and to further develop an understanding of the change process and the benefits it might bring. The programme introduces students to MI and the basic Motivational Interviewing skills: 1. Open-ended questions. 2. Reflective listening. 3. Reframing. 4. Developing discrepancy. 5. Looking forward. The programme is both educational and therapeutic in design.The programme can provide some useful resources for the clinician engaged in individual interventions and the Learning Mentor, SENCO, Inclusion Manager or other professionals wishing to develop a programme of support for an individual student. A significant feature is the way in which students themselves are required to try out and make use of the key stills and strategies of the MI approach. The idea here is to promote this powerful notion of peer support and to encourage young people to perceive themselves as change agents who are both motivated and motivating to others.

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