Evoking ideas in a partnership for change

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When you are out of ideas…wouldn’t it be great if the people you work with made their own arguments for change?

Families often go through agency services to check off the boxes. They may commit to making the required changes, but sometimes success doesn’t come. While the services work for many, some families may go through years of traditional services with little or no success. What’s the difference?

MiiWrap integrates motivational interviewing into high-fidelity wraparound to identify and then increase motivation for change. Change as defined by the family and their support network. One important step in this process is getting the person to talk about their situation, consider and articulate their reasons and concerns about making change, and make statement of preparing and committing to change. Research shows this greatly increases the chance they will actually make the changes. This is the MiiWrap behavior change skill called evoking.


Evoking over business-as-usual

Traditionally we would try to convince a person through information and persuasion of the benefits of making a change. And then come up with a prescriptive plan of how they should go about making the changes. Here’s an example. Val is required by her case worker to take parenting classes to get her kids returned from a temporary placement with her mother. She has been given this task before, and she’ll probably go, but she knows she won’t attend a single meeting more than she has to to meet the case worker’s requirements.  

Evoking is a fundamentally different way to address change. It is drawing out from the person reasons and ways they think need changing, and what the best way to make that change is for them. This process not only honors the person, but also allows staff to hear things from their perspective.

One of the advantages of evoking is that the person will come up with ideas that we have never considered. People have incredible insight into their needs and solutions that may work for them, when given the opportunity to express them. Evoking can result in a level of individuality and creativity to address needs that agency staff never would identify on their own.

Evoking worked well for Val. Her MiiWrap case manager discussed with Val her goal, which she agreed was to get her kids back. Val then described that she doesn’t like the parenting classes she was forced to go to because they seemed focused on parenting in a two-parent household. As a single mom, Val couldn’t relate to the content or the other people there. But, she liked the idea of learning some parenting techniques. So together Val and her case manager found a single mother’s support group that would meet the requirements for Val to get her kids and give her a new support system. Years later, Val was still involved in the support group as a mentor.  


Evoking as a tool in the MiiWrap box

Evoking change talk is one of the behavior change skills MiiWrap teaches, along with others that help facilitate change. All are aimed at helping the person discover their own reasons for making changes they identify as important. But making people change is a difficult task, and they have to commit to MiiWrap to trust you enough to participate in the process. That’s where the MiiWrap mindset and principles, engagement skills, and relational skills come into play. All of these skills aid in building a strong working relationship so change is easier to commit to. Change is vulnerable, and it’s hard to show vulnerability in a relationship without a good foundation.


Evoking and the MiiWrap theory of change

The second great thing about evoking is it gets the person to make the statement about change. MiiWrap loves the Mindset of “If I said it, and no one made me say it, I will be more likely to do it.” This highlights the way we think MiiWrap brings about change, even in the most resistant cases.

MiiWrap operates based on the theory that a person’s motivation and self-belief that they can change can be increased by specific types of interactions and support. Behavior change is most strongly influenced by internalized motivation and one’s belief in their ability to make change, or their self-efficacy. Pulling from decades of research in human behavior, MiiWrap theory states that increasing internalized motivation can be accomplished through meeting basic psychological needs, specifically needs for competence, autonomy, and interrelatedness. MiiWrap focuses on supporting people to increase motivation and self-efficacy through an interaction-based approach that supports these needs. Specific activities and skills define a process of team supported behavior change.

The theory of change is all about getting a person to make lasting change through increasing their motivation to do so. Evoking is an important part of the buy-in to the change process, and is an important skill for any MiiWrap professional to have.

MiiWrap theory of change


The roots of evoking in motivational interviewing

The goal of evoking is getting the person to discuss making a change, referred to as change talk. There are stages of change talk, all the way from expressing a desire to change to taking steps to do so. MiiWrap professionals evoke change talk at all stages by uncovering reasons for change for the MiiWrap team and for the person themselves. Sometimes decisions and ability surrounding change are hidden, evoking is meant to bring these to the light. Evoking helps the team and the person understand their own reason for change, what abilities and skills they have to make a change, what they need to get it done, and how they will do it once they’ve committed.

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