HELPFUL CONVERSATIONS | ‘No-nonsense’ counselling for busy people
Jeff Allison offers individuals an opportunity to discuss troubling dilemmas, using motivational interviewing as the conversational style. Sessions last between one and two hours, and are held at a venue of the individual’s choice, including offices, cafes, restaurants and public spaces, and through Skype - whichever is the most convenient. One to three sessions is normally sufficient to reach a conclusion. All conversations are confidential. Typical themes have included, ‘I think I’m drinking too much.’ ‘Should I move house?’ ‘How can I cope with my demanding job?’ ‘Am I really too busy to exercise?’ ‘My relationship is a disaster area!’ ‘Where am I heading?’ The normal dilemmas of life exaggerated by seriousness, reluctance or uncertainty, are the natural domain for motivational interviewing.
SEMINARS & WORKSHOPS
We provide everything from 1-hour seminars to comprehensive 5-day workshops, all tailored to the commissioner’s needs. We are happy to offer pragmatic advice about the likely best options, guided by the commissioner’s preferences and circumstances, and based on our long experience in training provision.
So much to do, so little time...
There are many routes to acquiring or enhancing knowledge and skilfulness; and diverse cultures, languages, contexts and professions in which MI is studied and applied. However, after more than thirty years of experience and research, much is now known in the field about how to design and conduct efficient and effective training and practice development coaching and, in consequence, there is a growing consensus about best practice.
The conventional 1- or 2-day training workshop is no longer regarded as the sole vehicle for MI training. An introductory workshop is a useful foundation, and much can be achieved. However, it is rarely sufficient to produce a demonstrable performance shift towards MI-consistent practice and new learning may quickly evaporate if there is no opportunity for supported practice development. While some practitioners require little guidance to transform their practice quickly - a brief seminar ‘does the trick’ - for others the task may take longer and be more difficult. Research evidence supports the anecdotal view that regular guided reflection on practice, preferably using recorded examples of practice, is one key to the advancement of skilfulness.
Naturally the commissioner’s requirements influence our advice about the form and content of training. We appreciate that the nature of training will also be determined by the practical constraints on resources – time and money being the usual challenges. This need not be an obstacle to a productive and worthwhile outcome. In our experience it is perfectly possible to achieve an acceptable balance between high quality, speed of delivery and completion, and price.
The most important objective for our work is that practitioners should be able to conclude, realistically: ‘I understand MI. I can practise MI in the context of my work and, when I do, I fully understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I can also explain my practice to others. I judge my work to be MI-consistent.’
PRACTICE DEVELOPMENT COACHING
In practice development coaching the focus shifts from the general components of MI – essence, processes, skills and tactics – discussed and taught in introductory workshops, to exploring its specific application in the practitioner’s work context. We provide practice development coaching in a variety of forms: individual tuition; one-off ‘top-up’ seminars using practice simulation exercises; ongoing regular groups exploring practice recordings and transcripts. The value of a group committed to mutual support and practice development cannot be overestimated for transforming practice and its effectiveness.
We are happy to offer pragmatic advice about the likely best options, guided by the commissioner’s preferences and circumstances, and based on our long experience in training provision.
Onwards and upwards...
Anyone who has struggled to learn to play a musical instrument, will know that while it is possible to do so alone, it is better, and possibly quicker, to have regular tuition with a competent musician – one who knows not only how to play, but also how to teach. The teacher needs to see and hear the learner play to provide a constructive critique.
Achieving and maintaining genuine skilfulness in MI is much the same; not an easy task, but perfectly possible. Not everyone is destined to be a concert soloist, but all can play well enough in time. Whatever standard the learner wants to achieve, it will require study and effort sustained over a long period, and a readiness to explore the unproductive aspects of their practice. This is the essence of practice development coaching - looking in the mirror with our eyes open!