The key to increased motivation is actually not the carrot or the stick. People can usually identify good reasons to make various changes. They need help with the back and forth conversation in their head.
Which of these two statements feels more inspiring to you?
Most offenders come to our customer’s agencies motivated to “stay out of prison” or “not use drugs.” While both are admirable goals, it is vital to help the client tap into what they are motivated FOR. There is a significant difference between being motivated to say “no” and to say “yes.” In general, motivation to achieve something (a better parent) is stronger than motivation to avoid something (using drugs). After all, getting up every day to work toward something is much more inspiring than getting up with the hope of avoiding something. Help the client define WHO THEY ARE vs. WHO THEY ARE NOT.
This principle is often misunderstood and read as “increase motivation.” The “intrinsic” part is vital. An offender’s environment rarely cooperates with interventions and therefore strong internal motivation is necessary. This principle assumes (rightfully, in most cases) that offenders have good reasons to change but need help tipping the scales in their favor. This is another place where Motivational Interviewing (MI) shines because it is client-centered focusing on “pulling” the reasons for change from within the client, rather than “pushing” conventional motives. Nobody likes to be pushed.
The question stands: Does Motivational Interviewing check the box then we’re done? What about the case plan, goals and action steps each client is taking as they progress through their treatment and supervision program? Is there a link there? Should there be?
We've developed our software to consider motivation at many stages of the client’s treatment process including incorporating a values-based case plan builder and tying action steps to the values and needs each client identifies while measuring those over time as an agency. Click on our software icons below to see how we've implemented the motivation principle in our software.