Background: The need for counselling skills has long been acknowledged in nutrition and dietetics. Traditional approaches have been based on didactic education and advice giving. However, in the past 30y the literature documented a shift to integrate Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques.
Aims: To investigate New Zealand dietitians’ and nutritionists’ perceived adequacy of training and confidence in using behaviour change techniques.
Methods: Members of Dietitians NZ and Clinical Nutrition Association were invited to complete a questionnaire based on Rapoport and Perry. Twenty three finished questionnaires were returned.
Results: Most (91%) participants were dietitians. Around half (48-57%) thought their training in person-centred counselling was adequate/more than adequate and most (61%) indicated adequate training in MI; but not all facets. Most (83%) described their main approach to dietary treatment as ‘person-centred’ and most (70-87%) felt confident/extremely confident using person-centred and MI with clients. Around half (44-61%) were confident/extremely confident using most facets of CBT and mindfulness-based eating. Most (87%) felt their clients had moderate to very good success rate over the short-term, but less than half (43%) felt that a dietitian alone was the best trained professional to manage eating behaviour change. Confidence using techniques may be due to most (87%) participants undertaking additional training in behaviour change techniques.
Conclusions: Most participants felt confident using a variety of counselling approaches, particularly person-centred and MI, but most had attended ongoing training on behaviour change techniques.
Funding source: N/A