Motivational interview with the adolescent.

            the Problem motivation of adolescents to any action, to the solution of any problem is quite acute for a very large number of not only professionals, but especially for parents of Teens.

            Any specialist or parent interacting with a teenager and noticing his problem, trying to help him cope with them. But, most often, faced with strong suspension by the teenager – “I don't need help. The problems I have. You don't understand today's youth. Now all the young live”.

             What is it? The desire to hide the problem? The desire not to admit to it. The desire not to reopen sick? Yes, all these reasons are possible. But all of these reasons exist in the context of the fact that the teenager is still aware of the presence of the problem. But more often happens differently – often a teen just does not see the problems themselves. "Skipping school – well, time to catch up then”. “Smoke – so what, now all smoke”. “Rude people – so what they deserved”.

             How to start working with the teenager before he realized the existence of the problem? How to stimulate it to reflect on their life situation? How to help him to make the first step towards your change? In this case, can help techniques of motivational counseling.

              In the motivational consulting (William R. Miller, Stephen Rollnick, “Motivational counselling”) there are six stages of change human behaviour:

- prasertsan – do not know or insufficiently know about the problem and have no intentions to change in the near future;

contemplation – recognition of problems and desire to do something about it, but still not taking any steps;

training – the recognition that the problem exists and the commencement of the action to make some changes;

act – changing problem behavior and the achievement of certain marks or objectives;

maintenance – maintaining the changed behaviour, at least for 6 months or more after the initial steps, and work on relapse prevention;

termination – the ultimate goal, when the problem no longer presents a temptation and a problem behavior can be.

With each stage of the process of changing the behavior will match the most effective methods of human exposure, contributing to its promotion in the way of changes:

prasertsan – awareness, without changing the identity of the teenager.

contemplation – a story about possible alternatives to life without a problem, assistance in realization of resources at the teenager that will help him to change;

training – a commitment to change, the signing of the agreement, the plan changes;

action, maintenance – the implementation of the action plan, control, reward, maintaining a behavior.

                So on the first two stages of work with teen specialists and parents have to work not on solving the problem, and to help Teens recognize its existence and to help him see their resources for change. And this is a very difficult task! After all, all concerned for adults people just want to quickly get rid of the problem!

                 And still have to recognize that failure to follow the sequence of influences on the teenager, we will probably wait for that teenager will refuse to work, and we once again acknowledge his hard!

                 What are the techniques in the first stage may use the parents and the professionals. In this article I will describe two techniques that use myself – it is a conversation and work with the associated maps according to the method of scaling, taken from cognitive-behavioral therapy.
             Work with associative maps. Thinking the teenager is often characterized by a dichotomy. This feature complicates the adolescent's awareness of their problems – or no problem in principle, or that are so large that to solve them by no means. Scaling technique using associative cards helps to undermine the dichotomous consciousness of the adolescent and allows him to see the shades of perception to your problem and thus it is better to understand, to accept its presence. For this technique I use two decks of cards ‘TEENAGERS’ and ‘PERSONITA”. The algorithm works as follows:

  • Teens are invited to choose a face from a deck of cards "PERSONITA”, which he would be associated with the current status;
  • from the second part of the deck «PERSONITA” is prompted to select the map corresponding to their nature of interaction with society and put it under the first card;
  • from a deck of cards ‘TEENAGERS’ is invited to choose a card, relevant to life situations and put it on the first map;
  • then are invited to rate their condition on a scale from -5 to +5 if possible, the teenager is proposed and qualitatively to describe the condition;
  • next comes the work on the differentiation of possible States of the teenager, the teenager is invited to pick up the cards on the state of the corresponding +5, -5, +3, -3, +4, -4, +2, -2, +1, -1, 0, again, if possible, with their qualitative description;
  • after the scale of possible States visualized using maps and described qualitatively, Teens are invited to choose the state in which he would be asked to explain what it is he likes, and nothing like the current state;
  • after this teenager is asked to think about what prevents him to achieve the desired state.

                 Thus, the use of this technique helps Teens better understand that you have a specific problem. Just specify a single application of this technique does not always produce the result – may require 2-3 repetitions of this exercise before the teenager will begin to recognize the presence of the problem. This is understandable – the process of adoption and awareness, especially unpleasant things, takes time.


                       Motivational conversation. the Second technique is aimed at understanding the teenager their own problems – it's a motivational talk. Here I will give a brief outline of this interview (it is quite clearly consistent with the algorithm described earlier exercise). Just note that in exercise, and in the conversation, you need to use active listening techniques.

Plan a motivational meeting:

  • a survey on the current state of the teenager with the use of open questions (as usually runs your life now? how do you communicate with peers, friends, classmates, teachers, parents? what feelings do you most often experience? how often do you have mood? are you satisfied with your life, what would be the assessment of your life now did you think?);

- the scaling of possible States of a teenager, again using open questions (if your life was at +5 (-5) how it was spent, how would you communicate with other people, what feelings and emotions you experienced?);

- what would life, what is the mark, you are now staged, describe it;

- what prevents you now to live.

                In my opinion, the use of these techniques can be extremely useful both to psychologists working with adolescents and caregivers of children's homes, and, of course, parents.

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