Course Overview

This course will go into depth on the processes of effective listening and various methods that can be used to ensure meaningful responses and a good relationship with the client. In this course, we focus more on the reflections contribution to effective listening and provide scenarios of where it is used correctly and incorrectly while also giving you a chance to test your knowledge.

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Credit Hours: MCBAP-R (0.0) MCBAP-S (1.0) Mi-CEC (1.0) Nursing (0.0)
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This course is unavailable for direct enrollment, please contact the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan.

Topics Covered

Core communication skills in Motivational Interviewing (OARS)

There are four essential skills in Motivational Interviewing. These skills, much like the oars on a boat, give movement and direction while working with a client by helping to get them to start talking and influencing what they talk about. This training covers an in-depth review of these skills.

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions can allow clients to give a more extended and thoughtful response while exploring their problems and feelings. Open-ended questions prevent a “yes” or “no” response or an answer that gives a specific factual detail.


Affirmations, when used correctly, can build up a working relationship with the client through acknowledging what is good about them and validating their feelings. Affirmations can ultimately increase the client's confidence in capabilities to take action and change behavior. We discuss the difference between affirmations and praise.


Reflections are active expressions we offer back to clients to show we are listening by sharing and clarifying how we are understanding their meaning. We cover the difference between reflective listening and reflective non-listening through examples of conversations with clients.

Levels of Reflection

There are three levels of reflection that increase in complexity; Repetition, simple, and complex. Learn what each level of reflection is and when it is appropriate to use them. We also review examples of conversations with clients where each level of reflection is used and provide you the chance to choose which reflection would be best in certain scenarios.

Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis testing is a statement offered to the client as a guess to their meaning and allows the client to feel understood or correct our understanding. We provide a chance for you to practice hypothesis testing with possible client statements.

Cautions to Consider in Reflective Listening

Here we provide you with examples of common mistakes in reflective listening. Being cautious of these common mistakes can ensure that the client is providing you with full responses while also maintaining a working relationship with them.

Who Should Take This Course

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Professionals seeking continuing education hours to meet requirements for renewal of the following certifications:
    • Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC)
    • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
    • Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS)
    • Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
    • Certified Prevention Consultant – Reciprocal (CPC-R)
    • Certified Peer Recovery Mentor (CPRM)

Additional Considerations

Even if you guess wrong at what the clients meaning is, you are still offering them a chance to correct your understanding and feel heard.

Course Objectives

  1. Understand how the skill of good listening allows the client to explore their own reasons for change.
  2. Understand how reflective listening helps to establish the Spirit of MI.
  3. Be able to describe two features that define reflective listening – that separate it from passive listening.
  4. Examine the three types of reflections: repetition, simple, and complex.
  5. Review demonstrations and practice.
  6. Identify three “cautions” to consider as you practice reflective listening – and start to use reflections in your own work in the field.”

What People Are Saying

My experience with this module was enlightening. I received clarification on some issues I assumed that I knew. I now have a better understanding due to my participation in this course.

- Vincent B.