Course Overview

This lesson will focus on exploring listening for and responding to varying levels of change talk to support our clients to move towards implementation. It also explores responding to sustain talk to avoid “dis-engagement.” Multiple opportunities to test your knowledge and understanding are provided in this lesson.

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Credit Hours: MCBAP-R (0.0) MCBAP-S (1.0) Mi-CEC (1.0) Nursing (0.0)
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Topics Covered

Commitment Language

An opportunity is provided for you to practice listening for mobilizing change talk by analysing a client statement and deciding whether it is preparatory or mobilizing. Commitment talk is different than preparatory change talk or mobilizing change talk. We provide an example of a client statement for each of the three and explore the differences among them.

Implementation Intention

Implementation Intention is a form of commitment talk that includes a specific action plan and states their intention to act on that plan to at least one other person. Using Motivational Interviewing skills, we can listen for opportunities to evoke specific intentions to act from clients. We provide an example of a conversation between a staff person and a client where the client expresses an Implementation Intention.

Evoking Intention/Strengthening Commitment Toward Action

One of the best ways to strengthen commitment for change is to listen for opportunities to evoke specific commitments and intentions from a client’s change talk. Open questions and summaries are the most effective for evoking change. We prove you with three client statements and ask for you to arrange them in order from generalized intention to most specific intention. We also provide a client statement and ask you to write or choose the staff response that would best evoke a specific commitment and intention to take action. It is important to be aware of a client's readiness before evoking commitment talk. If the client is pushed toward commitment before they are ready, then it can ultimately move them away from change.

Strengthening Commitment by Exploring Reluctance 

Reluctance to change is the client’s reasons for wanting to maintain the status quo. We define and distinguish reluctance and resistance. Evoking and exploring reluctance can help the client to identify and navigate any remaining barriers to change. We provide you with an example of a conversation where the client doesn’t answer the staff persons question, indicating that there is some remaining reluctance. We then ask you to choose which statement would be the most effective to help the client strengthen commitment to take the next step.  

Monitoring “Dis-Engagement”

When a client is surrendering their change plan, possibly due to reluctance or other factors, they are experiencing disengagement. It is important to remember to watch for this and provide re-engagement and/or replanning. We provide you with multiple client statements and ask you to choose which statements show speech that could represent disengagement. 

Additional Considerations

Motivational Interviewing supports movement toward change by: establishing and maintaining a relational style, continuing to evoke and affirm in a directive way, and being alert for the need for re-engaging the client with their DARN-C for change.


Course Objectives

  1. You will review preparatory change talk, mobilizing change talk and identify forms of commitment language.
  2. You will be able to define the term "Implementing Intention" and be able to recognize this type of client declaration.
  3. You will review five different efforts to strengthen commitment and look at demonstrations of each one.
  4. You will be able to identify how reluctance can impede commitment. You will practice picking out examples of ways to evoke and resolve any remaining reluctance from actual client statements.
  5. You will be able to identify the term "disengagement" as it relates to the fluctuation that can occur within a client's commitment to change and be able to practice picking out examples of disengagement from actual client statements.

What People Are Saying

The module was very informative. It was easy to navigate and thorough in its presentation of the information.

- Brooke C.