Build Client Motivation BEFORE The First Appointment

BBMD Consulting

By Richard Hamilton.

Amongst the many innovations that the founders of Solution- Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) have introduced to the world of counselling is the exploration of pre-session changes. These changes can lead to a treasure trove of useful motivational strategies, if you know how to tap into them.   Research has shown that 40% of clients have made some improvement to their problem prior to their first session (deShazer and Berg), however clients will not reveal these improvements unless asked; that’s a lot of valuable information hidden away.   Accessing this information is easy and effective: when the client books their first interview, simply ask them to track what goes well in their life between ‘now’ and their appointment. This could be asked by the Resource Center staff, by the receptionist, or whomever books the appointment.

When the client comes in for the first appointment, the Employment Counsellor then asks the client for “any helpful changes, even small ones,” that have occurred prior to “now”. The client often reveals information that demonstrates that they are on the road to accomplishing their goals. A skilled Employment Counsellor can add importance to these changes that resonate with their client, helping them connect with his or her roadmap.  The following are examples of pre-interview questions that will help clients recognize their accomplishments, no matter how small, which in turn builds self-efficacy and motivation to succeed.

  1. Ask for even small steps towards finding work
  2. How did she do that?
  3. What difference did it make?
  4. What would happen if you carried on doing this?
  5. When was the last time you felt more on track in your work-seeking?
  6. What was different in your life that allowed you to be more on track?
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