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What Professional People say about Why Path2Success4ME works

Here’s a recommended and informative article by our Chief Science Officer, John E. Martin, Ph.D. :

Path 2 Success 4 Me and Motivational Science:  Empirical Validation of its Theory, Method and Results

John E. Martin, Ph.D.

Helping people change — to come out of life dissatisfaction, from purpose wandering to purpose direction — is the primary goal of Path2Success4Me (P2S4Me).   It is grounded in and based-upon proven motivational and cognitive-behavioral, scientific theory and application.  This paper will briefly describe that scientific and empirical basis for the program, and individual results.

P2S4Me and Motivation Science

The method and application of P2S4Me rests upon and is guided by the most current theories and understanding of human motivation, and especially the empirically validated approach to helping people change termed motivational interviewing (MI) (Miller & Rollnick, 1991, 2002; Walters, Ogle & Martin, 2002).).  MI is an increasingly empirically supported approach to motivating and helping people to change even some of the most difficult problems (Hettema, Steele, & Miller, 2005), such as addictions (Miller & Rollnick, 2002), but also a variety of psychological disorders (Arkowitz, Westra & Miller, 2008), and health and disease risk behaviors (Rollnick, Miller & Butler, 2008).  P2S4Me now represents perhaps that next exciting phase in the application of MI to the broader scope of those many who may not be struggling with significant addictions or clinical disorders, but are stuck in their pursuit of life direction and purpose, unfulfilled or unhappy with their lives.

The Application of Motivation Science to Motivational Interviewing and P2S4Me

The motivational science basis of P2S4Me was first determined through a series of studies in which a single session of MI was provided to chronic alcoholics in need of treatment (Miller & Rollnick, 1991).  In each study it was found that those who received this session of highly empathic listening, and strategic questioning and interactive collaboration were significantly more likely to decide to enter a treatment program, or to make important and lasting changes in their drinking even without formal treatment.  The theory and proven practices on which MI was based included client-centered counseling developed by Carl Rogers, results of an analysis of the most proven strategies of brief forms of therapy, and recent cognitive and behavioral science.  Studies of Rogerian client centered therapy established the importance of particular characteristics and motivating/encouraging styles of communicating in the counselor or therapist, such as empathic listening and reflecting, and expression of unconditional positive regard and  genuine warmth in the approach to the client – the basic encouraging style of P2S4Me life coaches.

Secondly, studies of brief counseling styles most associated with positive change revealed six critical factors in that change-producing alliance.  The acronym FRAMES was used to describe these factors, including Feedback (individualized/personalized feedback was given to clients), Responsibility (clients, not the counselors, had to accept personal responsibility for change or no change, and the resulting consequences), Advice (advice was given in a gentle style, and only when the person was interested in and ready to hear and actively employ it), Menu of Options (clients were encouraged to consider various choices or options in how and what they might change), Empathy (counselors’ style of communication and listening was highly empathic, caring, non-judgmental and non-directing), and Self-Efficacy (clients were encouraged and empowered to believe that they could change their lives if they decided to).  P2S4Me uses FRAMES as well in helping people change.

Thirdly, motivational interviewing applied motivation and cognitive theory in its definition of the approach to helping people prepare for and make change, and in its principles of practice.  The definition of motivational interviewing – a client or person-centered, directive approach to helping people change, by accessing and enhancing their internal motivation “engine” by addressing and processing their ambivalence (conflicts) about whether to and what to change or not – is also consistent with the P2S4Me approach.  Furthermore, MI’s six practice principles – Express Empathy, Develop Discrepancy (motivation to look at and decide on life change), Avoid Arguing, Roll with Resistance, Create Change Talk, and Support Self-Efficacy.  Similarly, the P2S4Me program follows these same core principles of gently but powerfully engaging in the change process with their clients, or “pathfinders” as they term it.

Importantly, MI is careful not to direct or hurry the person, but rather directs and accelerates the process of change, by focusing on dialogues with the client that are both highly empathic as well as strategically focusing on life areas, values and priorities that are discrepant – areas of living in which the person is not truly happy, fulfilled or satisfied.  Both MI, and P2S4Me attempt to successfully ‘level the playing field’ of free choice and change potential that has previously been sloped, sometimes steeply, in the direction of not changing, staying the same, accepting the unfulfilling status quo so to speak.

Similarly, MI and P2S4Me also strictly avoid confrontational approaches that raise resistance to change in their clients.  Motivation science tells us that people actually don’t like to be told what is wrong with them and what to do about it, and will negatively perceive and further resist attempts by others to change them.  It is a natural law of reciprocity: for whatever pressure, verbal or otherwise, exerted against a person to get them to change, the individual will exert an equal or great pressure (resistance, argument, avoidance, denial, etc.) in the opposite direction, opposing change. Makes sense.  Rather, both MI and P2S4Me seek to gently, but systematically and strategically have the individual look at and decide whether change needs to happen, and how and when it should occur.

We know that people change on their own when they are ready, using their own means, resources and methods.  But should we just wait until they get ready and then do it on their own? That would be one way.  A considerable body of evidence in psychology tells us that many clinical problems like anxiety and depression go away on their own, in time.  Natural processes, both personal and environmental (and maybe biological) take place.  But research also shows that we can accelerate this process of change in individuals if we understand the process of change, and factors that cause a person to get stuck, and what things and approaches can either facilitate positive change or actually raise resistance to or block change.  MI and P2S4Me pay attention to these factors, avoiding those that are problematic to the change process, and directing and enhancing those that facilitate it.

A now well-validated theory has helped us to understand when people change.  Called the Transtheoretical theory, or Stages of Change model (Prochaska & DiClemente,     ), it divides people in terms of their readiness for change into six major categories, including pre-contemplation (not thinking about or intending to change), contemplation (thinking about it, but not ready to do anything about it), preparation (getting ready to change, possibly even experimenting with change), action (actually changing, but for less than 6 months), maintenance (maintaining change for 6 months or longer), and relapse (surprisingly: most people who go on to successfully change have relapsed once or more).  MI and P2S4me are sensitive to the person’s readiness or stage of change, and employ different approaches and pacing depending upon where the person is in this process.

Two additional findings from the research on motivation, change and clinical counseling – and which MI and P2S4Me both actively work toward – relate to the practice principles of developing discrepancy and creating change talk.  We know that people think and talk in certain ways before they actually decide to change or engage action.  We know that people imagine what change would look and feel like, and maybe think it through to some extent, before they decide to or attempt even the smallest changes in their lives.  We also know that they think and talk in certain ways that either lead them away from change (making excuses, being a victim of circumstances, avoidance, arguing), or toward change (asking questions about change, stopping arguing, believing and talking in positive ways about change, and in negative ways about not changing).  Again, MI and P2S4Me prompt, look for and reinforce thinking, envisioning and talking that supports and even accelerates change and the change-readying process.  Both also examine individuals’ core values, where their hearts and passions are perhaps locked up or stuck, or not sufficiently examined and brought into the light of imagination and reality.

The Spirit of MI and P2S4Me

Addressing a person’s core important values is a critical aspect of the MI and P2S4Me approach. This touches importantly on the spiritual.  In fact, both MI (Miller & Rollnick, 2002; Miller, 2000) and P2S4Me have a strong spiritual side to their approach (Martin & Sihn, 2009).  For example, the spirit of MI (and elatedly, P2S4Me) can be considered as resting on three factors, including collaboration, evocation, and autonomy.  In MI the counselor and the person collaborate with each other in a spirit of love and equality, in which a partner-like relationship is established.  The counselor helps the individual to observe, discover and explore rather than to be told what is the problem and what to do.  Resources and motivation of change are elicited or evoked from the individual as residing in him or her.  By drawing on a person’s own perceptions, goals, and values, normal ambivalence about changing or not is addressed, while intrinsic motivation for change is tapped and enhanced.  Motivation is not imparted or installed but elicited and evoked from within the person and his or her mind and spirit. Out of the spirit of autonomy the client is encouraged to take responsibility for making choices and changes.  Thus, change arises within the person rather than from extrinsic motivators.  The counselor affirms the right and capacity of the client for self-direction and facilitates informed choices (Martin & Sihn, 2009).

P2S4Me: Promising Results

The application of motivational, cognitive and behavioral science, specifically MI, to P2S4Me has been ongoing for over six years with very encouraging results. A number of lives of young and older people have been profoundly changed, in terms of life purpose and direction, as well as life problem alleviation.  I also have gone through the P2S4Me program and have experienced a number of very positive changes in my own life direction and focus.  We at P2S4me will be following and scientifically evaluating the numbers and kinds of life changes resulting from the intervention, and will be publishing these promising results in the future.


Arkowitz, H., Westra, H.A., Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (Eds.). (2008). Motivational interviewing in the treatment of psychological disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Hettema, J., Steele, J., & Miller, W. R. (2005). Motivational interviewing. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 91-111.

Martin, J.E. (1984).  Integrating spiritual and behavioral approaches to change.  Symposium presented before the national convention of the Association for     Advancement of Behavior Therapy, April, Philadelphia, PA.

Miller, W.R. (2000).  Rediscovering fire:  Small interventions, large effects.   Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 14 (1), 6-18.

Miller, W. R., & Martin, J. E. (Eds.) (1988).  Behavior therapy and religion: Integrating spiritual and behavioral approaches to change. Woodland Hills, CA: Sage Press.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (1991).  Motivational interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2002).  Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change (2nd ed.).  New York: Guilford Press.

Walters, S.T., Ogle, R., & Martin, J.E.  (2002). The perils and possibilities of a group-based M.I.  In W. R. Miller & S. Rollnick (Eds.). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change (2nd ed.) (pp. 377-390). New York: Guilford Press.


Here’s another article from John E. Martin, Ph.D.: “Show me the way to MOTIVATION”

Motivation is something everyone has. They just may not be using it, releasing it, or directing it in ways that they like or want.  Allow me to explain. But first, the other side of the story…

As a professor of clinical psychology, and a trained behaviorist, I used to believe that people were either motivated or not — no in-between.  People would sign up for our treatment groups or therapy with a need to change and they would either get with it, follow directions, and work change into their lives, or they wouldn’t.  We wanted to help them, but if they didn’t have motivation, it was like trying to roll that proverbial boulder up the mountain – once we let go, it (they) would roll all the way back down to where they started (and even below where they started from).  Better just not to try to work with the unmotivated.  Many alcoholics and drug addicts, and even their 12-Step Program  had a different way of describing the same thing: People needed to ‘hit bottom’ to be motivated to change.

But we were all wrong.

People don’t need to ‘hit bottom’ to become motivated to do everything necessary to change.  It is not an all-or-nothing thing, either.  Scientific studies and much clinical evidence tells us that there are different stages of motivation and readiness for change (more on the stages of change in another article).  Motivation is built-in, hard-wired.  Watch a baby sometimes trying to walk, trying to touch things and explore. Try to stop them (no, don’t). We now know that the motivational “engine” is always running, except if you are dead.  BUT it may be stuck in neutral (ambivalence, procrastination), it may be in reverse (!) (addictions?), or in the wrong gear, either too high (reaching for too high a goal, failing and giving up), or too low (racing around, Type A Stress (another article coming on that), busyness, workaholism).  Maybe the steering mechanism is messed up, or turned way too far in one or the other direction, instead of straight down the desired or best path (marital unfaithfulness).

Motivation needs to have direction and purpose in life to be complete.  Counselors, pastors, teachers and business and political leaders – not to mention parents – see this need in those they want to help, influence or lead.   Path2Success4ME.com is an exciting new approach to helping people become unstuck in life, to come to awareness of where their motivation and purpose have been waylaid, disturbed or interrupted, and how to find and get on their own path to true success and purpose. We all want to know how to “show me the way” to purpose.

So check out www.path2success4Me.com I don’t think you or who you have check it out will be disappointed.

John E. Martin, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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