In this article:
A person had to chop down a large area of trees with a dull axe. He was asked “is the time spent sharpening the axe worth the effort over time?” With a growing number of families facing great difficulties, I know that learning and certification of MiiWrap is truly worth the time and effort. – David Duresky

We asked David Duresky to share some thoughts about MiiWrap with us. What he sent back is pretty darn powerful:

MiiWrap has revolutionized how I view helping individuals and families that face complex challenges in their lives.  Like many of you, I have spent many hours reading multiple theories of change related to behavior change – there are over 80, including Bandura, Fishbein, Pavlov and others.  While they offered insights, as a therapist I was still struggling with how to best help my clients.  As I moved into supervisory roles, I felt a deep responsibility to support staff in their jobs as well. I was frustrated to hear many of my staff say, “they aren’t ready yet” and give up on people. My thoughts were that our jobs were to help those individuals and families “get ready.”  If we only worked with those who presented as ready for change, what good were we? What a great job that would be… just sitting around and waiting for the ready people to show up! And who was responsible to help those not yet ready?

I have always been fascinated by change.  Why do some people make changes easily, while others struggle for a lifetime, or death, to do so?  I also marveled that there are those that make complex changes with ease (taking a new job and moving across the country) while others stagger to make simple changes (they moved stuff around in my grocery store

In 1998 I was introduced to Motivational Interviewing (MI) and felt like I had discovered a gold mine! MI offered a clear and effective path to help others in their journey of making changes to improve their lives. The Stages of Change helped me identify where the person was in a systematic manner and the Principles gave me direction as to science based strategies to use. This was validated by my observing those I had the privilege to work with as they made more efficient and effective changes. As the model evolved and grew through research, I felt like I had found a way of helping others with the struggles in their lives. Over the years I was able to participate in research, writing manuals and eventually began to provide training to others.

In 2003 I had the opportunity to bring a model of high-fidelity Wraparound to Broward County Florida as a part of a SAMHSA System of Care grant. I quickly began to identify the commonalities of each model.  MI was strong on style and methods while Wraparound provided a solid evidenced based structure to help individuals and families. Having the wonderful opportunity of working with VVDB allowed me to bounce ideas off of John VanDenBerg and Jim Rast, who also had significant knowledge and practice of MI. I began to provide MI training to Wrap staff about 3 months after their certification.

Through the grant I was able to also provide face to face coaching on both models and things seemed to be going well…until I observed an emerging pattern amongst staff. They would provide Wraparound to a family and when they got stuck, they would switch over to MI.  Once things improved, they would then switch back to Wraparound. Most staff were challenged to provide both simultaneously. While this approach was helpful, I was perplexed as to why this was occurring.

After years of talking, mostly to Jim, we came to the conclusion that to be most effective, the models had to be integrated in to one, and MiiWrap was conceived. I cannot tell you the countless hours of discussion writing and rewriting that went into the development of this new model. It is not a modification of Wraparound – it is an entirely new approach.   Jim and Brittany were able to complete a MiiWrap manual and develop a web-based training on MiiWrap that are incredibly effective to help staff integrate these two approaches. After nearly 40 years of working in this field I can tell you unequivocally that there is no better way to help families and individuals who struggle with complex challenges and changes in their lives.

I once heard a story of someone who was eager to help others and saw formal education as a barrier and a delay to do so. They were wisely told the following story: A person was faced with chopping down a large area of trees. They were given a dull axe to do so. The posed question was “is the time spent sharpening the axe worth the effort over time?” With a growing number of families facing great difficulties, I know that learning and certification of MiiWrap is truly worth the time and effort.  The juice is worth the squeeze! Best wishes to you in your work and your journey to help others!

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