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Motivational Interviewing in Everyday Life

A theater and film director who works intensively with individual and group psychology as well as with communication/language structures.

Communication Has Many Forms And Layers

Dance performance “A Prayer For Pinocchio” with Nikos Konstantakis. Cologne 2016

Dance performance “A Prayer For Pinocchio” with Nikos Konstantakis. Cologne 2016

Communication will change and evolve over time as our social relationships evolve and become more sophisticated.

Counseling as the oldest form of friendship, later classified and charged as therapy, follows them all, adapting to new collective styles of interaction and interrelating.

In today’s world of hyper-communication brought about by social technologies that are becoming more and more complex until they become quantum intelligent and some version of Alexa suddenly becomes your best friend, feedback is readily available, but nevertheless polysemantic and confusing.

All people are complex networks of cells, yet we only recognize them in one form. Our perception makes distinctions that are not necessarily there.

Communicating is a learning journey. To communicate is to perceive.

Nothing happens without you first communicating it to someone, be it your inner voice.

Therefore, communication is also action, and action is the change, and change is all there is, said the sage.

But how do you talk about the change you do not want to make and, equally important, how do you listen and take counsel?

There is a way that involves mindfulness, an open mind, and zero expectation.

It is called Motivational Interviewing.

With this technique you can master any communication problem, if you just have enough patience.

Still from the hybrid documentary feature "The Freaquency" by IC (2022)

Still from the hybrid documentary feature "The Freaquency" by IC (2022)

How To Use MI To Improve Your Relationships

Motivational Interviewing is a highly effective counseling tool that facilitates a collaborative and purposeful communication process at the intersection of following and leading, agreeing and guiding.

It is based on the language of change and designed to strengthen a person’s motivation for change by working with and expressing their mixed feelings.

MI stems from the understanding that it is our motivation, whether conscious or unconscious, that drives us in life.

The key is cooperation and equality, i.e., sharing information as friends do rather than lecturing as teachers do.

A positive approach characterized by acceptance and compassion replaces unsolicited advice, confrontation, directives, and warnings, which are common but ineffective methods.

MI helps you think through your situation, and consider your options, and is best suited for ambivalent, insecure heroes with low self-esteem who are on the decline and need a change in their circumstances.

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The sage said, “If you can appreciate the power of nature to overcome all obstacles, you will discover that this power is also within you.”

And if you have no idea where to start looking, try talking to someone who is committed, compassionate, and non-judgmental, who applies the principles of MI and may not even be aware of them because they are so natural to our inner being.

MI follows the Tao principle of least resistance and slowly, like water, dissolves hard attitudes and inaccessible inner landscapes.

Still from the hybrid documentary feature "The Freaquency" by IC

Still from the hybrid documentary feature "The Freaquency" by IC

Evoke Change From A Place Of Acceptance And Compassion

The core elements of MI can easily apply to a wide variety of areas, including any disagreements you have with loved ones.

Say you want to sell your family home and move to another city where the water and education are better, but your son hates leaving his basketball team, and your partner hates change.

First, accept that it may take months to get them to see reason on your part.

Now roll with resistance by setting the agenda and building curiosity surrounded by compassion and acceptance.

What to do often arises spontaneously, as inner wisdom, when you know what not to do.

Learn to recognize the 3F behaviors — fight, flight, or freeze — that signal you to stop and change your approach.

These include to name a few: arguing, denying, blaming, interrupting, taking over, not responding, oppositional, skeptical, resentful, angry, cautious, dismissive, suspicious, changing the subject, procrastinating, sabotaging, belittling, and minimizing.

When they rise, seek the positive. This is called evocation.

Next, adopt a non-judgmental attitude and understand the other person’s point of view, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to you.

Remember that openness, lack of expectations, and mindfulness are the keys to success in any endeavor, especially interpersonal.

Now express your empathy and compassion by prioritizing their well-being and expressing your selfless attitude while highlighting their strengths and respecting everyone’s right to make an informed decision.

With practice, you will find this easier.

Site-specific performance "Madre Coraggio" by IC, Lido Di Venezia 2014.

Site-specific performance "Madre Coraggio" by IC, Lido Di Venezia 2014.

Improve Your Conversation Skills And Resolve Disagreements

You should also become aware of your corrective reflexes and avoid them.

Here is a short list to name a few: commanding, instructing, warning, threatening, giving advice, making suggestions, giving answers, persuading with logic, arguing, lecturing, moralizing, preaching, judging, criticizing, blaming, shaming, mocking, insulting, interpreting, analyzing, arguing, examining, questioning, withdrawing, distracting, making fun of, changing the subject.

We all use them in the heat of the moment when passion takes the place of judgment, and the rational mind retreats in favor of stirred emotions.

It is why psychologists call them reflexes.

Trade them in for OARS, another amazing method from MI.

OARS stands for open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, and summaries.

Instead of asking “When did you start drinking?” and possibly triggering shame, try Tell me about the first time you drank.”

Affirmations acknowledge the person’s efforts and abilities while conveying confidence. They go something like this: “That sounds like a difficult situation. No wonder you feel exhausted.”

Never downplay the problems or coping mechanisms of others.

You will not get anywhere completely on your own.

You will not get anywhere completely on your own.

Communication Is a Two-Lane Highway

Reflections are a good tactic when you do not know what to say but want to continue the conversation. It’s an opportunity to show that you are listening and caring, which builds trust.

Repeat what you just heard, rephrase it, or make a deeper assumption about what the person wants to communicate.

That’s where empathy lies. You must learn to listen.

The summary, as the last part, repeats all the important aspects of the story and highlights the change talk so that the person is left with a positive outlook.

Apply these strategies in every situation until you become a truly compassionate person that people like talking to. Watch your life change.

Yes, changes are difficult, and relationships are even more difficult. But they bring us closer together, and that is the point of being human, as well as any obstacle in your path. Climate, health and economic disasters included.

The way you communicate spreads like a disease and has the power to trigger profound movements.

Aren’t you curious to see where the river flows?

© 2022 Irena Curik

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