Is IBA ‘girly’?

5 Jul

On a recent training course on IBA for lifestyle change, I was discussing the motivational style inherent in some forms of IBA with two prison officers. As officers working in the physical education department of a prison, they described their upfront approach to supporting prisoners to get fitter in words such as these:

“If they come to us and say I want to get fit, I’m overweight.  We say, yeah you are overweight and here’s what you need to do to sort it.  We’ll write you a programme but we can’t do it for you. You just need to get off your ar*e and do it.”  

Well, its certainly emphasising personal responsibility, but the ‘no nonsense’ nature of the response had the rest of us, who happened to all be women, squirming.  Where’s the rapport and empathy, the listening, the motivation matrix? And it got us talking – does all that ‘touchy-feely’ stuff make IBA a bit wimpy? Is it women’s stuff?  As a new-age feminist, I don’t even like framing the question in that way… and let’s remember motivational interviewing was invented by two men! But it is not the first time that people have questioned whether patients really want to be ‘listened to’, or whether they would prefer to be told what to do.

According to Silverman et al. (2005 p.185), it is a mistake to assume that all patients want to be actively involved in decision-making in medical consultations in general, and they cite a range of studies that explore this issue further. It is worth remembering that this kind of collaborative approach to consultation may be new to some patients; they may need some gentle encouragement to get them to engage fully with IBA or indeed other patient-centred approaches.

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2 Responses to “Is IBA ‘girly’?”

  1. James Morris July 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Interesting, especially becasue I do think there are probably some people that respond better to coercion rather than motivational approaces. Whether gender is dominant factor though I am less sure. But I think there is evidence that women are more empathetic than men so perhaps naturally more inclined to have MI skills? I’m not sure, and IBA shouldn’t generally require more than a few minutes of listening!

    • carol mccauley October 19, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      i am a commissioner of young peoples servcies and i am interested in how we build into specfication a requirment for a provider to deliver IBA across a range of health inventions also incorpaorting health ‘Every Contact Counts’ –

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