Module 9: working with young people on AOD issues: learner's workbook

5.1 Introduction to some motivational interviewing techniques

Page last updated: 2004

Motivational techniques

Many different techniques are associated with the motivational interviewing approach. As mentioned previously, a comprehensive coverage of all possibilities is beyond the scope of this module. However, you will be provided with several techniques that are useful when working with young people with AOD issues. You may well have used some of these techniques in your work with young people, perhaps in relation to difficult behaviours or another issue. The techniques presented here can be used in addressing behaviour change generally, but this module will focus specifically on behaviour change in response to AOD-related problems.

The strategies can be used alone in short conversations with young people or in combination within more lengthy or in-depth interactions, depending upon the setting in which the worker is placed.

The techniques include:
  • Pros and cons for making change or staying the same (also known as decisional-balancing): a young person is asked to identify some of the good and less good things about making change and staying the same

  • Looking forward/future directions:a young person is asked to consider what life might be like for them in the future

  • Worst-case scenario/best-case scenario: a young person is asked to think of what the worst and best-case scenarios might be like for them.