Monday, April 25, 2016


At the conference on Friday, I attended a session on Motivational Interviewing, which is a technique that docs working in the substance abuse world and probably other parts of behavioral health use to work with patients who are resisting change. Which is to say, practically, everybody.

So, if you have some ornery cuss sitting there saying he has no interest in quitting drinking and his wife is a bitch etc. etc., you don't fight it, you try to ride the wave of discontent, listen for core issues, repeat back what the person is saying in slightly different ways, establish yourself as an ally. The docs are all about staying calm, showing empathy, looking for openings.

It was all very professional and compassionate, but there was an emphasis as well on not being judgmental, keeping an even tone. There was some overlap with things I've heard on sales training CDs, honestly, but the accents were in very different places.

So we did some role playing, and I was paired with this very nice young doctor from Raleigh. It was a struggle for me at first, but then I got better. But at the end of the sessions when I was playing doctor I kept going back to enthusiastically praising him for the progress he had made ("It sounds like you're doing great!") instead of keeping it even keel.  And each time he cracked up and said something like "And that'll be $100."

It occurred to me how salesmanlike I must have sounded to him, with his trained clinical restraint. Which is kind of an odd place for me, to have gotten to that point so quickly. But, whatever, it is what it is.

Nice guy, good training, good learnings. I should dial it back a little sometimes. I effuse sometimes when I'm nervous, I reckon.

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