Getting a person to do something is of far less value than helping them to want to do it. Getting them to do it fosters compliance. Helping them to want to do it fosters life transformation.
Here at Union Gospel Mission of Salem, we do not push or pull. We invite.
It has been said of people suffering from addictions that “they want what they want when they want it.” Observing the life of addicted people, I am amazed at their resourcefulness for getting what they want. They are highly motivated to get what they want. People tend to move toward what they want the most.
We can forbid and administer consequences, but until what they want changes, they will continually be drawn back to what they want, almost involuntarily. So the question becomes, “How can we help them to want something better?”
Having lived the life of an addict for over twenty years, I know firsthand that addicted people do not want to be addicted. They are stuck in the belief that the drug-of-choice is the only way to get what they want, which is a pain-free life. In recovery, we exploit this fact/want in order to build motivation in the direction of positive change.
To build motivation that results in true change, we must avoid all forms of external motivation (praise or pressure). It has been found that inner-motivation results in lasting change, whereas externally motivated change is often short lived. This means that, rather than push or pull, we must show the client that what they really want is in the direction of positive change.
At UGM, we believe that true change comes from God alone. We are simply tools in His hands. One sows, another waters, but God gives the increase. We further believe that the more we understand how change works, the more He tends to honor our efforts.
The process of building inner-motivation while avoiding external-motivation is an artful craft, not an exact science. We listen for language that reveals a desire to change and we offer back reflections with other words that ratchet into place, or solidify, in the mind of the client the stated desire. It is like dropping planks into place to build scaffolding in order to scale a wall. Each time we reflect back a bit of the change talk we have heard, it builds motivation in the positive direction.
The real challenge is avoiding external motivation. Pushing and pulling come more naturally for most of us than does the needed artful scaffold building. Often in the busyness of the day we might tend to trade-off building inner-motivation for getting-it-done now. In those cases, we win a battle but risk losing the war.
It is easy to let client resistance trigger a power contest. With our focus on building inner-motivation we honor resistance as the client reflecting valid concerns. We validate those concerns and thus avoid pushing back on the resistance. This allows us to remain partners with the client and not become adversaries.
As a part of our Core Values, UGM is committed to carrying out our charge to Christ, Clients & Community in full alignment with all best practices and evidence based methods. Understanding the mechanics of change has made us better.
Our Community, Our people, Your Mission