# 161 Spirit of MI: Evocation

Evocation is both one of the four MI processes and an essential spirit element. It is evidenced by the clinician working to evoke the client’s reasons for change and ideas about why to change and how to do it. There is much more calling forth reasons and ideas from the client than offering of suggestions by the clinician.

The best way to give advice to your children is to
find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
Harry S Truman

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do,
to achieve what they want to achieve.
Tom Landry

Our training has been primarily from a deficit model. This means we focus on what is wrong or missing here and what this person needs from us. There can be value in this approach at times. However, when it’s time to help the client make changes, this paradigm decreases our effectiveness.

In MI, we assume that this person knows herself much better than we do and has the internal resources to make changes. Our job is to help her find the motivations and resources within herself.

How to tell if you are in the spirit of evocation:

  • You prioritize calling forth the client’s reasons to make the change rather than the reasons you think should matter.
  • There is very little time spent on you providing information or suggestions. The majority of the time is exploring the client’s knowledge, opinions, abilities and ideas. There is much more asking than telling.
  • When you do give advice, it is within a context of something the client says he needs in order to move forward.
  • Any plan the client leaves with is the one that he developed, not one that you advanced.

For ideas on how to shift into evocation, see Tip #117.


Posted in Tips