Last month I had the opportunity to attend the 10th Annual Homeless Summit in Oacoma, SD. The Homeless Summit is a 2 day conference held to bring all of the different agencies around the state who work with the homeless populations to one location. Over the course of the Summit, we learn about best practices, homelessness related issues, and it provides a great opportunity for networking.
This year, the Homeless Summit’s featured speaker was Ken Kaybill. Ken has worked in health, behavioral health, and homeless housing arena for the past 30+ years. He spoke with us about Best Practices, Trauma-Informed Care, and Motivational Interviewing.
During the Motivational Interviewing breakout session, we were able to practice different techniques with our colleges and peers. I really enjoyed this as it was a helpful reminder to be thoughtful when communicating with our clients. Sometimes, our communication seems to sound more like telling rather than listening. One of the examples he shared with us was a client coming in who wanted to stop smoking. Our first reaction would be to give them a list of reasons why they should quit. Rambling off things like the cost, their health, smell bad, bad teeth, etc., does not motivate them to change, they need to be the ones to realize the “why” they want to change. He shared with us, “the only attitude you can change is your own.” I think this is important to remember when working with clients. I cannot change their attitude, but I can steer them with conversations to lead them towards recognizing the “want” to change.
I am very thankful for my opportunity to attend the Summit this year and have enjoyed using Motivational Interviewing while working with clients coming into the Ministry.