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Supporting behaviour change

Supporting behaviour change

It can feel frustrating to see the same client again and again, and not see any positive change. Part of the problem is that we do not correctly gauge whether people are ready to change in the first place.

If a patient is not ready, they should leave it and wait until a more appropriate time. Ploughing on with the process regardless will leave you both frustrated at getting a negative result.

The real challenge is to recognise whether the person is ready to make a change in the first place and to ensure they are making the decisions for themselves. We are so used to telling people what to do that often we don’t recognise that it might be the patient’s own fault when the change process does not work well. Some of the techniques in this resource will help you to improve your communication skills and your ability to see where you client is on their change journey.

Remember that you are not:

  • arguing that a person has a problem and needs to change
  • offering advice without a client’s permission
  • doing most of talking
  • diagnosing a person’s problem
  • responsible for making that person change.

If they are not ready to change, leave the door open and part on good terms.

Motivational interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is an empathetic and supportive counselling style that encourages and strengthens a client's motivation for change.

Research shows that motivational interviewing techniques lead to greater participation in treatment and more positive treatment outcomes. This makes motivational interviewing an excellent tool for using with MECC.

This module will give you an overview of motivational interviewing and will provide you with a 'change toolkit' to use when discussing change with your clients. It will also sign-post you to other resources should you wish to know more about MI and MECC.

Who is this learning for?

This learning area is relevant to all registered nurses, student nurses, health care assistants (HCAs) and assistant practitioners working in any health care setting or specialism. The aim is to give you an overview of motivational interviewing and provide you with a tool-kit of techniques that you can start to use immediately.

Learning outcomes

After completing all the sections and activities in this resource, the learner should be able to:

  • be aware of motivational interviewing and why it is effective
  • know how to initiate a conversation with their client around health care and lifestyle issues
  • understand why it is important to gauge a client's attitude to change
  • signpost their clients to more information or support
  • understand why they feel frustrated when client's do not change
  • recognise the limits of what they can achieve with their clients.