Professionals – New Functional Imagery Training course launching 2021

Professionals – New Functional Imagery Training course launching 2021

Dear fellow professionals,

It has taken me days to put fingers to keyboard in a final newsletter of 2020.
What I want to tell you about is forward-thinking, an exciting new training course developed from work by Plymouth University which will start in the new year. I know that some of you won’t have the mental bandwidth right now to think about January, in which case maybe you could mark this email “Unread” and flag it, to come back to when things are a bit calmer.

Finding a way forward

At a time when things seem to be getting worse rather than better, what we need is hope for the future, faith that things can change and a plan for how to work towards that one step at a time. By a curious twist of fate, what I want to tell you about in this newsletter is a new training programme that is all of those things. Which means that as well as teaching you a new evidence-based motivational training to use with your clients, you’ll probably benefit personally too.

This is not my training and there is no benefit to me of promoting it. I’m telling you about it because it was the best training I myself attended in 2019, and it enhanced my own clinical practice.

The reason I write this blog for fellow professionals is to spread the word about everything from academic, health and clinical psychology that might be useful to you in your own work with people who want to change how they eat. I think this training course will be really helpful to many of you.

Functional Imagery Training

If you’ve already attended one of my workshops for professionals on “The Psychology of Weight Loss” you’ll have had a taste of FIT. I use a simplified form of the approach in those workshops, and I always recommend that anyone interested in further FIT training go on a Plymouth University training course.

In the new year, the co-developer of FIT Dr Linda Solbrig is launching a new FIT training and she has sent me the details so I can pass them on. Linda’s outline of the course is at the end of this newsletter including the dates and the costs.

You probably already use, or at least know about, Motivational Interviewing as a means of helping to tap into clients’ intrinsic values and motivations to help them make changes that matter to them.

Functional Imagery Training (FIT) is an advanced version of Motivational Interviewing. FIT uses personal mental imagery to work in partnership with clients, helping clients to resolve dilemmas, clearly develop their very own valued incentives for change, find solutions, and to develop strategies and confidence for achieving their goals. Importantly, it also teaches people new ways of thinking about their very immediate future to help them stay motivated.

The power of visualisation

FIT builds on two decades of peer-reviewed, published scientific research showing that mental imagery is much more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought and that mental imagery is what gives a drug and/or dysfunctional cravings and behaviours dominance over other thoughts, but conversely, it can also be what makes us work consistently and successfully towards a new goal despite obstacles.

See below for further details of the course and how you can book your place.

Looking forward to the new year

I wish you as healthy and happy Christmas as you’re able to have this year, and the hope that 2021 will be a year of healing and renewal.

With warm wishes
Helen

FIT Group Course for Advanced FIT Practitioner Status, Assessment and Certification

MI4FIT and FIT group training sessions:
Tue 26th of Jan, 27th Wed of Jan, Tue 2nd of Feb, Wed 3rd of Feb, 9th of Feb and 10th of Feb. 

  • One on One FIT practise training session with live feedback (1.5 hours), to be arranged individually via email with linda.solbrig@plymouth.ac.uk
  • Cost £600 which is an introductory offer and may change for future training
  • Total hours including self-study and practise: 38 hours
  • Please note that the following course can also be taught one on one, but the cost of training will differ and it will end in Master Practitioner Status upon passing assessment, due to the more intensive study with and practise on Dr Linda Solbrig

The FIT advanced practitioner status is awarded and certified only upon satisfactory completion of this course and its assessment. 
There is an option to receive FIT Master Practitioner Status after completion of advanced status and satisfaction of top-up assessment (enquire with Dr Linda Solbrig).
The training, assessment and certification process is conducted by the FIT co-developer and primary developer of FIT for weight management: Dr Linda Solbrig (University of Plymouth and Dr Linda Solbrig Consultancy).

FIT practitioner advanced certificate (total: 38 hours) structure:   

Motivational Interviewing for FIT teaching sessions and assessment 7.5 hours (3×2.5 hours, taught via Zoom):
Trainees complete 7.5 hours of taught foundational Motivational Interviewing Training for FIT. We would expect you to set aside an additional 5 hours of self-study, using the provided learning resources.
MI sessions cover, but are not limited to:  

  • We consider why people find change difficult and how MI can help
  • We cover MI background, MI success to date and its application in various settings
  • We consider patient-centred, collaborative, but directive approaches and the use of OARS in practise
  • We give extra consideration the power of excellent reflection skills
  • We consider how to best apply OARS and especially Reflection with very ambivalent clients
  • We consider the MI 4 process model, engagement, evocation, focusing and planning, and how it is applied in practise
  • We teach you how to use MI through videos, demos and exercises
  • We engage you in MI role/real-play at several points throughout with an assigned buddy
  • We consider the importance of OARS and the four-process model in FIT
  • We take your questions and consider discussion throughout the sessions
  • Brief assessment

Assessment info: 
We ask you to participate in a short assessment on the final day of MI teaching sessions. This assessment comprises a series of client/patient statements and we will ask you to write example responses, using your new and/or refreshed MI skills.
We will ask you to complete this brief task online and Dr Linda Solbrig will give brief written feedback on your responses over the week that follows the end of your MI course section.
Your answers will be kept confidential and your responses are never shared with anyone other than Dr Linda Solbrig.
Please note the MI assessment is not a pass-fail part of the course; it simply gives the trainer an indication of where the group is in terms of their MI skills and how much depth of MI review needs to be addressed within the FIT teaching sessions. This should make the next part of the course much more effectively tailored to your needs.

Learning resourses provided MI for FIT part:

  • MI handbook, including practise sections and MI example scripts for lifestyle change
  • MI reading list, including copies of key academic MI publications
  • FIT example video/audio that illustrates the importance of the use of MI in FIT
  • Training power point slides in form of PDF document with all video and reading links
  • Resources to self-check MI skills, like the MITI and our own simplified version to check MI skills in FIT interviews

Functional Imagery Training teaching sessions (3×2.5 hours, taught via Zoom)
We continue with 7.5 hours of taught FIT sessions. We would expect you to set aside an additional 5 hours of self-study, using the provided learning materials. 

FIT Taught sessions cover, but are not limited to:  

  • You will experience some brief parts of FIT and the use of imagery on yourself
  • We briefly consider ethical conduct when using FIT
  • We teach the research, rationale and theoretical background of FIT
  • We review why MI is so important in FIT
  • We teach you how to use FIT, through demonstrations, video and audio examples
  • We engage you in real-play on an assigned buddy at several points
  • We consider the application of FIT, offer and discuss practise-based evidence examples and share observations
  • We discuss how to use FIT to support prescribed diets and exercise regimes
  • We learn how to flexibly and creatively adapt FIT training for clients with complexities, specific preferences, while retaining FIT fidelity
  • We demonstrate and invite you to experience key exercises of FIT that address issues such as acute cravings, binge urges and periods of slow progress (weight loss plateaux)
  • We take your Questions and encourage discussion throughout the sessions

Learning resources provided for FIT: 

  • FIT handbook, including practise sections and FIT example scripts for lifestyle change
  • FIT reading list, including copies of key academic FIT publications
  • FIT example videos, case studies and brief written dialogues
  • Training power point slides in form of PDF document
  • Resources to self-check FIT skills and fidelity

1 Practise session of FIT on Dr Linda Solbrig with live feedback from her is to be arranged individually with her and will take around 1.5 hours of your time.

FIT Advanced Practitioner Assessment (10 hours of FIT practise, 1×1 hour FIT session recording)
Throughout the course and following, we ask you to accumulate 10 hours of practise in FIT practising on your assigned buddy and/or clients, friends, colleagues or family members.

Once you have accumulated 10 hours of FIT practise, please submit (via email, WhatsApp, Onedrive, Dropbox or https://wetransfer.com/) 1×1 FIT first session audio recordings to Dr Linda Solbrig for written feedback and fidelity assessment (linda.solbrig@plymouth.ac.uk).
Please make sure you obtain verbal or written consent from your practise partner for this process. The only person who will have access to your recordings and who will assess them is Dr Linda Solbrig.
Please assure that you submit your recordings within 3 months of completing the taught section of the course. 
Once you have received your feedback, Dr Linda Solbrig will arrange to have a Zoom or skype clinical supervision session with you to give you an opportunity to discuss your progress, challenges, personalised feedback and any other questions you may have.
Following this meeting your advanced FIT practitioner status will be confirmed and you will receive your certificate via email.
Dr Linda Solbrig will add you to an online directory of certified FIT practitioners, you will be allowed to use the FIT logo and to advertise as practising/offering FIT officially to clients and/or patients.

Cancellations and missed sessions:
Please contact me, Dr Linda Solbrig via email linda.solbrig@plymouth.ac.uk, at least 24 hours in advance of the course to let me know about cancelations in order to get a full refund and/or alternatively please let me know if you wish to defer until the next training.
If you know you cannot attend or will miss a single session, please do let me know at least 24 hours in advance and I will provide an audio recording of the session (provided all attendees give consent) and/or I will share a summary of the lecture with you and make sure to cover any questions you have about the missed session in our individual time together.

FIT competences the training and certification process builds:

General competences

  • Ability to engage client and to demonstrate and explain rationale for using and learning the use of FIT
  • Ability to structure sessions and adhere to agreed agenda
  • Ability to use active listening skills, collaboratively setting agenda, reflecting emotions and emphasising autonomy for behaviour change
  • Using summaries and feedback to structure sessions
  • Ability to assist client in decisional balance
  • Show empathy for client’s dilemma
  • Ability to elicit client’s ideas and incentives for change
  • Ability to build client’s own motivation and confidence
  • Ability to form and support client’s plans for change/goals
  • Ability to teach client how to use the FIT way of thinking for themselves, outside of coaching sessions

FIT competences: behaviour change

  • Knowledge of basic principles underpinning FIT
  • Ability to elicit and gently guide vivid multisensory imagery, using prompts and silence appropriately
  • Ability to employ imagery techniques to elicit goal imagery
  • Ability to use imagery-based mental time travel to enhance discrepancy between current behaviour and core values
  • Ability to use imagery to help client consider hypothetical scenarios
  • Ability to keep main focus of interaction on positive imagery of proximal goals
  • Ability to help client identify and imagine alternative behaviours, particularly where a goal involves abstinence or restraint
  • Ability to assess client’s imagery
  • Ability to elicit key cognitions/emotions via goal imagery
  • Ability to detect, examine and help client reality test elicited cognitions/goal imagery
  • Ability to elicit client’s imagery of past successes and use this to strengthen motivation and overcome current obstacles to change
  • Ability to use confidence rulers to explore and strengthen client’s motivation and self-efficacy
  • Ability to agree concrete plans and help the client problem solve in regards to setting goals and sub-goals, via the use of imagery
  • Ability to end therapy in planned manner, and to plan for long-term maintenance of gains after treatment

FIT competences: behaviour maintenance

  • Ability to assist with ongoing behaviour change using imagery techniques
  • Ability to review original incentives and current progress, revising goal and goal imagery accordingly
  • Ability to identify and affirm progress, even if partial
  • Ability to sustain motivation when progress on specific goal seems slow by eliciting positive imagery and affect related to overarching life goals and values (plateau exercise)
  • Ability to pair imagery techniques with frequent behaviours
  • Ability to teach people to apply motivational imagery themselves
  • Ability to identify appropriate imagery reminders
  • Ability to set appropriate homework: To engage social support, take pictures, make videos

Problem-specific competences

  • Ability to assist with cravings using imagery techniques
  • Ability to flexibly tailor FIT exercises to specific needs and situations (delay, defer etc.)
  • Dealing with low cognitive capacity
  • Dealing with low imagery ability creatively using verbal thinking prompts that are imagery charged…
  • Coping with situations where imagery elicits too strong a reaction
  • Ability to work in partnership with the client to deliver the support they need, such as potential recordings of personalised audios using client’s own verbal and imagery-based prompts and narrative

 

More About Functional Imagery Training

FIT is a new, theoretically grounded, evidence-based motivational training. It uses the elicitation and practise of personal mental imagery to motivate and support change long-term. Crucially, it is not a form of therapy. It is a training that teaches clients to use a new way of thinking, drawing on their own cognitive abilities to creatively address challenges and to achieve goals, affecting positive behaviour and/or performance change.

FIT builds on two decades of peer-reviewed, published scientific research showing that mental imagery is much more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought and that mental imagery is what gives a drug and/or dysfunctional cravings and behaviours dominance over other thoughts, but conversely, it can also be what makes us work consistently and successfully towards a new goal despite obstacles.

FIT builds on this strong potential. It uses a variety of mental imagery exercises to continue building goal and success imagery and crucially, to teach clients how to do this for themselves, rather than depending on a trainer/coach or therapist long-term.
FIT uses the empathic, popular, established behaviour change intervention style of motivational interviewing to work in partnership with clients, helping clients to resolve dilemmas, clearly develop their very own valued incentives for change, find solutions, and to develop strategies and confidence for achieving their goals. Importantly, it also teaches people new ways of thinking about their very immediate future to help them stay motivated as they work on achieving each small step towards their ideal selves.

FIT is applicable to a wide range of goals and challenges. It has been used for example to change eating habits and to manage weight-loss successfully, treat alcohol dependence, increase performance in professional athletes, in increasing physical activity and improving adherence to physio therapy.
The length of the intervention can be tailored to different settings, from a brief consultation or small section of a larger intervention, to a more extensive intervention with several interviews over a number of weeks/months to sustain motivation until a new behaviour has become habitual. FIT can be used flexibly, via face to face in-person sessions, phone/tele-health and via for example Zoom and Skype.
There are also two apps (freely available) which can help to support clients’/patients’ journey to success.

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