Motivational Interviewing: Applications to Christian Therapy

Motivational Interviewing: Applications to Christian Therapy and Church Ministry In my research I found a great article titled “MI: applications to Christian therapy and church ministry” the article contains a great amount of good information about MI. The author John E. Martin explains how MI is important to motivate and help people change, for the treatment of psychological disorders and health risk prevention and intervention.
Martin says because of its usefulness in promoting changes for a variety of problems and diverse populations and biblically sound concepts and an approach, MI is also suitable for Christian therapy and church ministry as well. John Martin has worked with the creator of MI, W. R. Miller, to spiritually integrate MI to Christian therapy. He states that MI is a separate and distinct style from the traditional Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, in which has been criticized in the Christian context.
The “spirit” of MI may fall short of Christian-based spirituality but, Miller & Rollnick state the spirit of MI has three factors: collaboration, evocation, and autonomy. MI promotes a partner-like relationship with the counselor and client that they collaborate with empathy and equality. The counselor supports the client rather then persuades or argues. The counselor will try to draw out or evoke the client’s own perception, goals and values about change. It’s believed that the motivation of change reside in the client therefore the counselor wants the client to bring out his own ideas of change.

Furthermore, the spirit of autonomy comes when the counselor encourages the client to take responsibility for his choices and changes. The change should arise from within the client and not from outside sources. The counselor upholds the rite of the client’s self-direction, which creates the autonomy MI is all about change and the client’s motivation to change undesirable situations. To help and motivate a person committed to change involves four components: 1. Expressing empathy, 2. Developing discrepancy for not changing, 3. is rolling with resistance to change and 4.
Supporting/affirming self-efficacy. (Miller and Rollick 2002) Motivational interviewing is a client-centered goal-oriented approach for facilitating change through exploring and resolving ambivalence. Clinical trials with a wide range of populations and problems have supported the efficacy of this interviewing method, which was originally designed to facilitate change in problem drinking. Typically offered in one to four sessions, motivational interviewing focuses on evoking the client’s own statements of intrinsic desire, ability, reasons, need, and ultimately commitment to change.
Ambivalence is conceptualized as a principal obstacle, and the method focuses on helping the client to decide about and commit to change. It appears that once the person has made this commitment, change often proceeds without additional intervention. When used as a prelude to other interventions, motivational interviewing has shown synergistic effectiveness MI departs from traditional client-centered therapy because it is intentionally directive in its attempt to resolve ambivalence and increase the client’s intrinsic motivation to change.
It also departs from traditional behavior therapy and CBT in several ways. The most important one is the therapist’s role with respect to change. In behavior therapy and CBT, the therapist clearly takes the role of an advocate for change. However, in MI, the therapist does not advocate for change. Instead, the therapist’s job in MI is to help the client become his or her own advocate for change. For example, in MI, the client primarily suggests change strategies, with the therapist acting as a consultant for the client’s change program.
In this context, the therapist will usually have some input about approaches that may be helpful. However, the therapist offers proposals are proposed cautiously as input to the client, who is the final decision maker about how to approach and effect change. Finally, MI makes no assumptions about the client’s readiness to change and when an action orientation may be helpful. In fact, motivation for change is a crucial target for therapy in MI. With intrinsic motivation high and ambivalence about change low, MI assumes that change will occur, with the client as the main locus of the change.
MI is client-centered in its focus on the concerns, experiences, and perspectives of the individual client. Miller and Rollnick (2009) write: Motivational interviewing does not focus on teaching new coping skills, reshaping cognitions, or excavating the past. It is quite focused on the person’s present interests and concerns. Whatever discrepancies are explored and developed have to do with incongruities among aspects of the person’s own experiences and values Overall, I believe the article, Motivational interviewing: applications to Christian therapy and church ministry, emonstrates how effective MI can be when used properly. I did not write much about MI and the applications to Christian therapy and church ministry although, I believe the article gave good examples of how MI works. The article included a paragraph about Jesus and MI. This paragraph tells how Jesus used a form of MI in a conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4: 1-26). Jesus empathized with and showed respect to the woman. He did not argue and rolled with her resistance to change.
He supported her self-efficacy and built her confidence to be able to handle her problems and to make a commitment to change. He was able to encourage her to turn to him as her “savior”. I think MI is a very positive way to coach a client through many psychological disorders when they see a need for change. I thought MI was a new concept in therapy but after reading the article MI concepts can be dated back to Jesus. Also, after reading the article I would be more inclined to use this therapy when at all possible. I think when used correctly MI could be the most effective therapy of all therapies.
I realize that a client must be willing to change for MI to work effectively. Most clients seeking therapy realize there is a problem and one way to solve a problem is to change something. In answering the question, “Why do people change? ” is simple they are tired of a behavior that causes them problems and want a change for the better. “How do people change? ’ is they set a goal and do steps to reach that goal. “How does someone help some else to change? ” is to let them know you understand them, listen to them, support them, and encourage them.
I believe if you see yourself being reflected back as someone else sees you it may show light to some things you might have not saw on your own. As my article states motivation for change is the key to change. MI is not the therapist advocating the change but the therapist must guide the client to advocate for his own change. My conclusion is that MI is very effective when a person realizes there is a need for change. Once they have decided to make change and feel there are benefits in the change they are setting goals for change. Motivational Interviewing: Applications to Christian therapy and Church Ministry.

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