Our principles of practice are the Social Cognitive Theory, the Public Health Model, Adult Learning Principles and Motivational Interviewing. These shape our approach and have been selected for two reasons. Firstly, we want to be as sure as we can that what we do works, therefore we use scientific measures and methods that have been proven to be effective. The second reason is that these theories fit with our service philosophy. We agree with the view that health is a product of lifestyles and living conditions, and accept that lifestyles contain different patterns of behaviour that have both benefits and costs to the individual and the community.
Social Cognitive Theory
We find that the Social Cognitive Theory (formally known as Social Learning Theory), a systematic study and theory of how humans learn to behave, think and feel, helps us to understand different patterns of behaviour. Through this theory we can appreciate the benefits as well as the costs of the behaviour for each client. Assuming that all behaviours are learnt in the same way, albeit at different levels, encourages us to be non-judgmental. It teaches us to view the behaviour as normal and functional, rather than abnormal and dysfunctional. We are therefore able to accept that clients have made rational choices based on the information they had at the time.
Motivational interviewing aims to resolve ambivalence and reduce resistance. Through skillful reflective listening, some points are reinforced and others de-emphasised in order to create internal discomfort and discrepancy. By empathically highlighting how a person’s current behaviour is inconsistent with their future goals, we can assist the client toward motivation for change through their own desire to resolve this discrepancy.
At Amity we believe in a harm minimisation approach. Harm minimisation aims to identify the harms to individuals and society and implement strategies to minimise these harms. The primary aim is to help the individual to survive/manage or possibly reduce their drug use, alcohol consumption or gambling behaviours and reduce the damage associated with these habits.
Adult Learning Principles
The use of Adult Learning Principles ensures that information is provided to clients in a manner that will be most easily absorbed. It is important to firstly establish whether there is a need to learn, and then asking the client about their learning preferences so that material can be adapted to suit.