Person Centred Social Change Using Motivational Interviewing

Topics: Sociology, Social work, Joseph Rowntree Foundation Pages: 14 (4459 words) Published: April 13, 2013

The objectives of the role play exercise was to explore ourselves, and more so explore myself as a person and as a practitioner (Community development worker) as well as a therapeutic activist. It was to highlight identity work and the different masks that we put on when working with communities and the challenges that this poses to practitioners and clients. It also highlighted power relations and prejudice that are involved when working with people in the community.

The essay will talk about motivational interviewing and the role it plays in a person centred social change. It will then discuss reflective listening as one of the most important skills in motivational interviewing and then touch on empathy. The essay will then look at the use of effective dialogue in listening and helping people. It will then relate all these to the role play exercise the group undertook. The essay will then discuss the social construction of identity and the different masks we wear on a daily basis to play different roles in the society. It will then finish off with a reflection on the whole essay, group work and role plays.

The group exercise discussed all through this essay used motivational interviewing to role play a person centred social change. The group was focusing on a 25 year old female who is just recovering from a drug and alcohol addiction. The role play started at the pre-contemplation stage of change where clients are very likely to resist change and avoid the subject. At this stage, clients show little or no signs of taking responsibility and present a lot of defence mechanism (Healy 2011). Motivational interviewing is a very client centred and directive method used to enhance intrinsic motivation to change through exploring and resolving ambivalence. It is non-judgemental and value-laden. The style of motivational interviewing should manifest itself in the practitioner’s attitude in three possible components; Evocation: which acknowledges that effective behaviour change has to start with the client and not the practitioner. Lifestyle changes are most sustainable when voiced by clients independently. Autonomy support: which means that clients should choose their own way of changing, as that way, they are more likely to persist in that change. Overly influential or forceful methods are not encouraged, thus reasons for making behavioural changes has to be personally relevant to the client. Collaboration: this emphasizes the power sharing client/ practitioner relationship by acknowledging a dual expertise as the clients are the experts in how they will change (Rollnick et al 2007). To begin with, the group’s role play did not understand these components and so the group’s attitude was totally different from motivational interviewing.

Reflective listening is one of the skills used in motivational interviewing to aid clients explore and resolve their ambivalence about making changes. This is about responding to what the client says in a way that tells them you understand their feelings or what they are trying to say. Miller and Rollnick (2002) argues that reflective listening is considered to be one of the most important and sophisticated skills in motivational interviewing. It is used by practitioners to test the accuracy of their understanding of what the client says and it involves paraphrasing what the client said as well as guessing about the emotional impact on the client. It helps to explore both sides of the client’s ambivalence by for example stating that ‘so on one hand you are saying this and on the other you are saying that’. Reflective listening is also used to strengthen change talk (Miller and Rollnick 2002).

However, the role play discussed in this essay did not quite use reflective listening to begin with as the group did not understand fully what it means to be a reflective listener. The group clearly did not demonstrate an understanding of...

Bibliography: NILE site (2011) Social change, communities and organisational development [online]. Available from: [accessed the whole term].
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