PART 2: Create motivation and start planning

What is “change talk”? 

It is the part of the person's talk that focuses on change. It is always coupled with a goal connected to the change. That is, someone may be highly motivated to stop smoking but not to start exercising.

Your task will be to develop and reinforce change and commitment talk by asking questions that elicit motivation.

There are two different kinds of change talk: preparatory and action-oriented.

Preparatory change talk focuses on:

  • The desire to change;

  • Strength / ability to change;

  • Reasoning.

Action-oriented change talk focuses on:

  • Determination to change ("commitment"), intent, decision, promise; 

  • Becoming active (willing, ready, prepared);

  • Taking steps toward change, acting on it, making the change.

Some questions that can elicit change talk and commitment.

Desire. How would you like it to be?

Abilities / strengths. What would you accomplish if you decided to change? What would you gain from a change?

Needs. What would you need to change?

Commitment. What’s next?

Here you have to end the conversation by encouraging a decision or a commitment. 

As a leader, you should: 

  1. Summarize the person's reasons for the change when they decided to change, and clarify their decision. 

  2. Make a change-plan that clarifies the person's commitment and how the change will be implemented and maintained. 

  3. Follow up and handle any setbacks or relapse. This should strengthen motivation by actively following up on what experience the person has. 

Normalize failures and reformulate them into learning situations. 

Sometimes, you need a series of talks in order to come to a decision and sometimes it goes very fast. 

Sometimes the person chooses not to make the change that has been the target of the talk. MI-session ends when the leader expresses his respect for individual autonomy, i.e. the right to choose for yourself. In the brief, consultations there isn’t always room to work closely with all four processes. That’s why talk leaders often have to concentrate on the current process that is taking place. 

Today’s task
Practice asking questions that can elicit change-talk in your next session. The same questions can be directed to groups, family or couples.

Desire. How would you like it to be?

Abilities / strengths. What would you do if you've decided to change?

Needs. What would you need to change?

Commitment. What next?