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  • CMPS Staff

Eight Tasks of MI Learning

EIGHT TASKS OF MI LEARNING(Miller & Moyers, 2006)

* Although there are no measures for some of these skills, we consider them key skills for competency.

  1. Overall Spirit of MI:  Openness to a way of thinking and working that is collaborative rather than prescriptive, honors the client’s autonomy and self-direction, and is more about evoking than installing.  A willingness to suspend an authoritarian role, and to explore client capacity rather than incapacity, with a genuine interest in the client’s experience and perspectives.

  2. OARS:  Proficiency in client-centered counseling skills to provide a supportive and facilitative atmosphere in which clients can safely explore their experience and ambivalence.  This involves the comfortable practice of OARS (open questions, affirmation, reflections and summaries), and particularly the skill of accurate empathy.

  3. Recognizing Change Talk & Sustain Talk:  Ability to identify client “change talk” (commitment language that signals movement in the direction of behavior change), as well as identify client sustain talk.  Preparatory change talk includes desire, ability, reasons, and need for change, which favor increased strength of commitment.

  4. Eliciting and Strengthening Change Talk:  Ability to evoke and reinforce client change talk and commitment language.  Here the client-centered OARS skills are applied strategically to differentially strengthen change talk and commitment.

  5. Rolling with Sustain Talk & Resistance:  Ability to respond to client sustain talk and resistance in a manner that reflects and respects without reinforcing resistance.  The essence is to roll with rather it than oppose it.

  6. Developing a Change Plan:  Making the transition into Phase 2 of MI.  Ability to recognize client readiness, and to negotiate a specific change plan that is acceptable and appropriate to the client.  This involves timing as well as negotiation skills.

  7. Consolidating Commitment:  Ability to elicit increasing strength of client commitment to change and to specific implementation intentions.

  8. Transition and Blending:  Ability to blend an MI style with other intervention methods and to transition flexibly between MI and other approaches.

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