How to Become a Better Listener and Actually Help People Change with Dana Sturtevant | #64

The Conjuring Up Courage logo, a photo of Dana, and the words, "How to Become a Better Listener and Actually Help People Change with Dana Sturtevant Episode #64"

Click here to access a written transcript of this episode.

We live in a world where we’re taught a lot about speaking, but very little about listening. Motivational interviewing is a communication practice that can help us improve our listening skills, and the philosophy behind it is useful for not just helping professionals, but anyone who’s interested in communicating better.

In this episode, Dana Sturtevant spoke with me about what qualities make for a good listener, what actually leads people to change, and why trying to fix people’s problems is usually ineffective. Dana makes the case for trusting each person’s innate wisdom instead of trying to thrust your own wisdom upon people.

We discussed:

  • The evolution of Dana’s career over time and how she got into motivational interviewing.
  • What motivational interviewing is and some of the ways that it’s used.
  • How we’re not taught what it means to be a good listener.
  • Why the “Dr. Phil approach” doesn’t help people change.
  • Who actually has ownership over changing.
  • Dancing versus wrestling in conversation.
  • Moving away from perfectionism and adopting an ethic of “C” work.
  • The grief that comes with divesting from diet culture.
  • The harm caused by personal responsibility rhetoric in healthcare.
  • How helping professionals can continue to grow and change over the course of their careers.
  • The distance between doing and becoming.
  • How Dana defines health and wellness for herself at this moment in her life.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured in This Episode

Dana smiles for the camera. Her blonde hair is pulled back and she wears a blue and cream floral shirt

Dana Sturtevant (she/her) is the co-founder of Be Nourished, LLC and co-creator of Body Trust®—a strength-based, trauma-informed, scientifically grounded healing modality that encourages movement toward a compassionate, weight-inclusive model of radical self-care to address body oppression and heal body shame and associated patterns of chronic dieting and disordered eating. She is a registered dietitian, educator, and trainer whose work focuses on humanizing health care. A member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers since 2002, Dana travels around the country training helping professionals in the art (and science) of holding space for change. As a sought after speaker and writer, Dana advocates for compassionate, weight-inclusive models of care and offers supervision, training, and consultation for helping professionals and healthcare organizations. You can learn more about Be Nourished on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Did you benefit from this episode? You can show your appreciation by supporting Dana’s work and a cause that’s important to her. Scroll down to the bottom of any page on the Be Nourished website to sign up for their free Body Trust workbook, and donate to Nalgona Positivity Pride to support the Sage and Spoon eating disorder support groups for BIPOC.

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