Several decades ago, when treating substance abuse problems, psychologists developed a technique called motivational interviewing. The central premise: Instead of trying to force other people to change, you’re better off helping them find their own intrinsic motivation to change. You do that by interviewing them — asking open-ended questions and listening carefully — and holding up a mirror so they can see their own thoughts more clearly. If they express a desire to change, you guide them toward a plan. Say you’re a student at Hogwarts, and you want to help your uncle reject Voldemort. You might start like this:
You: I’d love to better understand your feelings about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Uncle: Well, he’s the most powerful wizard alive. Also, his followers promised me a fancy title.
You: Interesting. Is there anything you dislike about him?
Uncle: Hmm. I’m not crazy about all the murdering.
You: Well, nobody’s perfect. What’s stopped you from abandoning him?
Uncle: I’m afraid he might direct the murdering toward me.
You: That’s a reasonable fear — I’ve felt it too. Are there any principles that matter so deeply to you that you’d be willing to take that risk?