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Course One: Core Competencies

Learning the Core Skills

Course developed by: Steven Cole, Mary Cole, Connie Davis, and Damara Gutnick
CMI Team »

Brief Action Planning (BAP) represents a focused application of Motivational Interviewing (MI). BAP builds on research and practice from numerous fields: MI and self-management support; social, cognitive and Rogerian psychology; self-efficacy, self-determination and stage of change theory and research; and a-theoretical communication research. BAP offers a highly pragmatic, efficient and effective approach to helping individuals change unhealthy behaviors and improve their quality of life.

The approach begins with the understanding that information alone (i.e. advice and education) does not change unhealthy behavior, does not improve quality of life and is not sufficient for wellness.

You may have noticed this in your own practice. Even after individuals clearly understand what they should do, they often are not able to act in a manner consistent with this knowledge. They know what to do; the problem is that they have trouble doing it…trouble actually making the important changes. You surely notice this in your own personal lives as well. It is hard for most of us to lead healthy lifestyles, even if we know what we should be doing.
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For those of us in any helping profession, this can be very frustrating. Telling people what they should do to improve unhealthy lifestyles or impaired quality of life is rarely sufficient to induce change and is often counter-productive. Rollnick, Miller, and Butler call this the “righting reflex,” the very natural inclination we all have to tell people what they should do to improve their lives, especially when it is very obvious. And they suggest, as their first, somewhat counter-intuitive, principle of MI intervention, to “resist the righting reflex.”

So, is there a better approach to help patients or clients change, besides just telling them what they should do? Yes, there are better ways…and the science of behavior change tells us how to do it. BAP incorporates research about better ways to help people change and presents a highly structured, straightforward, stepped-care approach you can use in your own regular practice.

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