Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with a particular focus on change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring person’s own reasons and incentives for change within an atmosphere of warmth and empathy.
Focusing on the management of children and their families with obesogenic behaviors, even if there is the intention to change daily lifestyle habits towards a positive direction, this is not always translated to sustainable changes or at least to changes of high duration.
Behavioral changes and actions like “following a healthy diet”, “increase physical activity” or “regular self-monitoring” may seem simple enough to comply with. However, health professionals working with such families can often find themselves thinking “if only they would just……”, “take more exercise”, “stop worrying” or simply “just LISTEN”.
What the health professional has to understand is that there is a gap between what people “know” and what they “actually do”. The process that maintains the gap between knowledge and behavior is ambivalence. Individuals have to deal with conflicting motivations and pressures. In most cases, the change seems too big, the rewards too distant, the personal or financial costs too high or maybe it was never their idea to change in the first place.
Motivational Interviewing is:
A health professional that talks with a child or his parent has to ELICIT their actual view on the problematic condition so as to make them understand the situation and to set specific goals.