Another motivational technique that has proven extremely effective in increasing motivation and commitment to change is the continuum of readiness concept. This constitutes a line of conversation designed to explore how important change is to the other person and how confident s/he is of achieving it. For this purpose, the Readiness to Change Ruler is applied, which gives the other person ownership of their willingness to change. Here are some examples of its application in practice, after asking him/her to rate on a scale of 0 – 10, how important it is for them to change and how confident they are that they can achieve it.
“Why did you select a score of [insert #] on the importance/confidence scale rather than [lower #]?”
“What would need to happen for your importance/confidence score to move up from a [insert #] to a [insert a higher #]?”
“What would it take to move from a [insert #] to a [higher #]?”
“How would your life be different if you moved from a [insert #] to a [higher #]?”
“What do you think you might do to increase the importance/confidence about changing your [insert a high-risk/problem behavior]?
Practical Exercise: Motivational Communication
Now, do a practical exercise to prepare for a motivational communication session. The most effective motivational communication takes place in a preset sequence, starting by questioning the advantages and disadvantages of the status quo, that is, if no change takes place. Then, the disad-vantages of making the changes are discussed before the other person is lead to describe the advantages of change or the benefits that s/he can expect from it. Using detailed and vivid descriptions of these ad-vantages and benefits (e.g. how would their daily lives, performance, relationships, finances improve by achieving their goals of change?) further increases their conscious and subconscious desire to change.
Before having a motivational discussion with someone, prepare by making some notes in the worksheet provided (see the diagram below). Gently explore each in the proposed sequence without leading the other per-son. Remember the reflective listening guidelines and paraphrase the speaker’s comments to ensure clarity and reinforce commitment. Use the Readiness to Change Ruler to measure his/her readiness and confidence to change. Make notes and use it again in the next discussion.
An effective motivational conversation follows a preset flow, as indicated in the diagram below. Make notes beforehand but use it as guidelines (not instructions) to gently obtain answers from the other per-son. Be sure to apply reflective listening techniques throughout. Use the Readiness to Change Ruler toward the end to reinforce the other person’s readiness and drive to change, as well as determine their confidence to achieve it.
What comes next?
In session 7, we discuss the concept of self-compassion and the vital role that it plays in helping people. We often need to be able to look deep into ourselves and feel positive, energized, and comfortable with ourselves before we can effectively focus outward to help others.