Understanding Motivational Interviewing: Sustain Talk and Change Talk
- January 3, 2024
- Posted by: SEETHALAKSHMI SIVAKUMAR
- Category: COUNSELING
What is Motivational Interviewing?
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative counseling approach that aims to help individuals explore and resolve ambivalence towards change. It is widely used in various fields, including healthcare, addiction treatment, and mental health.
MI is rooted in the belief that individuals have the ability to change, and the role of the therapist is to facilitate that change by fostering intrinsic motivation. It is a person-centered approach that respects the autonomy of the client and focuses on building a strong therapeutic alliance.
What is Sustain Talk in Motivational Interviewing?
Sustain talk refers to the statements or expressions made by clients that reinforce their current behavior or resistance to change. It often reflects their ambivalence towards making a change and highlights the reasons or motivations for maintaining the status quo.
Sustain talk can manifest in various ways, such as expressing the benefits of their current behavior, minimizing the negative consequences, or expressing a lack of confidence in their ability to change. It is important for therapists to recognize and address sustain talk effectively to facilitate the client’s motivation for change.
What is Change Talk in Motivational Interviewing?
Change talk, on the other hand, refers to the statements or expressions made by clients that indicate their desire, ability, reasons, or need for change. It reflects their intrinsic motivation to make positive changes in their lives.
Change talk can include statements about the benefits of change, the importance of change for their well-being, their confidence in their ability to change, and their commitment to taking action. Therapists aim to elicit and amplify change talk to strengthen the client’s motivation and commitment to change.
Examples of Sustain Talk by Clients
1. “I’ve been smoking for so long, it’s too hard to quit now.”
2. “Drinking helps me relax and cope with stress. I don’t see any harm in it.”
3. “I’ve tried to lose weight before, but I always end up gaining it back. It’s just not worth the effort.”
Examples of Change Talk by Therapists
1. “What are some reasons you might want to quit smoking?”
2. “How do you think reducing your alcohol intake could improve your overall well-being?”
3. “Tell me about a time when you successfully made changes in your life.”
Motivational Interviewing is a powerful approach that helps individuals explore and resolve ambivalence towards change. By recognizing and addressing sustain talk effectively, therapists can guide clients towards change talk, strengthening their motivation and commitment to positive change.
Understanding the dynamics of sustain talk and change talk is crucial in the practice of MI. By skillfully eliciting and amplifying change talk, therapists can empower their clients to overcome ambivalence and take meaningful steps towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.