What is Socratic motivation?
People do not change under duress. Exercise your coercion and it will irrevocably go wrong with the matter you want to change. The people involved only want to change if they want to, of their own free will. Socratic motivation is about inner motivation and not about the coercion of external advice. Circumstances and the moment play an important role in this. If you want to change people against their will, you will experience anger, sadness, frustration, irritation and you will be perceived as pushy. During Socratic motivation, a balance of pros and cons is drawn up, as it were. But nothing is fixed with rules and laws. Everything is relative. Not the choice between good and evil but between two more or less evil or good options. Sometimes a dilemma where you have to choose, of which there is always a less pleasant outcome. But good as long as things roll and a dynamic process can be started.

Pavlov’s conditioning theory
Why do some people hardly change? This is largely due to fixed patterns, conditioning and triggers. According to Pavlov’s conditioning theory, behavior is largely determined by receiving rewards. In the well-known example of Pavlov with the dogs, the dog was fed after hearing a bell. Then the bell was heard but no food was given to the dog. The dog drooled because he heard the bell and knew he would be fed afterwards.

Pattern in the brain
For many years people have been in autopilot, as it were. They do the things we are used to doing. It’s all about short-term satisfaction. Our brains have stored this pattern. Long term thinking is out is the slogan of the new hedonistic generation. We can say that we are dealing with a large group of lazy people. Change takes a lot of energy and time. And since it can be difficult to make time, we keep pushing the change ahead. Or have things done by someone else. To change is to teach another program. Addiction is one of the most difficult behavioral patterns to change.
Basic Socratic conversation

Actually, the term ‘motivate’ is not entirely correct. Motivation is basically letting the other person do things that he probably doesn’t want at all. Motivation is then synonymous with ‘adapting’ or ‘just having to be like the other’. That is precisely why the other does not want to change. If someone is not motivated for something, we actually say that we expect something from the other. It can sometimes seem compelling. This is a major pitfall in conversation management. Maybe he just wants to be like that.

Purpose of motivation
Socratic conversation is based on understanding why the other person does not want to change. Why he or she wants to be like this. It sounds bizarre, but someone can choose to continue drinking or gambling, for example. In the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) it is described as ‘Live and let live’. Live and let live. Respect for the other, but the other must also respect me. Socratic motivation is aimed at creating clarity. No ‘pushing’ or ‘pulling’ in a conversation. The client does not have to go anywhere. Create order in the chaos and take the other person into account extremely. The point is that we should enjoy the conversation.

The five steps of Socratic conversation
Determine the problem
Acquainted. Clarify life motives. Determine the function of the problem.
Advantages and disadvantages of the problem in the short and long term.
Does the client have to change something? Is he sure? Does he doubt or want to leave it as it is?
Does he want to change? How? Match the frame of reference. Do not change? Keep in touch how it goes.


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