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Health and Medicine


Helping the homeless through motivation
Part of forum on helping homeless people with mental or substance abuse problems
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:
A Stark County advocacy group is exploring the needs of homeless people who might also have mental or substance abuse issues. The county Mental Health Recovery Board hosted a summit Friday at Stark State College, and presenters discussed alternative ways to reach out to the homeless.

Jeremy Evenden, with the Center for Evidence-Based Practices at Case Western Reserve University, taught attendees the open-ended “motivational interviewing” technique and how it can be used when admitting someone to a shelter.  He says it engages people’s needs instead of confronting them with their problems.
Helping the homeless through motivation

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“It’s been said that motivational interviewing is more like a dance than a wrestling match.  We’re working together, we’re trying to collaborate together, and in doing so we’re making progress.  I’m not trying to get you to submit to what I want you to do.  That takes a lot longer.  So the outcome [is] better relationships with your clients.  They open up more; they trust you more.”

Evenden and his colleagues have trained social workers and health professionals throughout Ohio in the technique.  He says the approach allows homeless people a smoother, quicker path back to recovery if substance abuse issues are involved.
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