Course Overview

This course will go into depth on the importance of the evoking process in Motivational Interviewing. We introduce the acronym DARN-CATS and define those seven kinds of change talk in MI. We list and apply the six strategies for evoking change talk when it is not plentiful in the clients responses. This course consists of both written and audible client speech and we give you the opportunity to test your knowledge in coming up with the appropriate responses that will evoke change talk in the client.

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


We review the central elements for Motivational Interviewing; The Spirit of MI, The Four Processes of MI, and The OARS Skills of MI. Each element is followed by a list of what constitutes that form of MI. We also review how a client could respond, either with change talk or sustain talk.

Resistance Lowering Techniques: The Righting Reflex

We review what the righting reflex is and the importance behind avoiding it when a client expresses resistance. In Motivational Interviewing we want to avoid putting ourselves in a position where we are arguing for change and the client is arguing against change. It is important to remember that the change talk should be coming from the client.

Importance of Evocation

The Evocation process distinguishes the Motivational Interviewing method through evoking the clients own reasons for change. The client's speech about reasons to change predict actual behavior change. We list and discuss the six steps for transitioning from Focusing to Evoking in the Motivational Interviewing process. 

Recognizing Change Talk

Change talk is the client's speech that moves in the direction of change. We review the acronym “DARN-CATS” and how they make up the Preparatory Change Talk (DARN) and the Activating Change Talk (CATS) that we want to evoke. In Motivational Interviewing, there are five client statements that we recognize as change talk. These five types of statements are described in the “DARN-C” part of the acronym.

Strategies for Evoking DARN Talk

In order to transition into planning, we must first implement a sufficient amount (usually two or three, but sometimes all) of the proven strategies for evoking DARN talk and a commitment to change. These strategies consist of Evocative Questions, Elaboration Questions, Best/Worst Case Scenario, Looking Forward/Looking Backward, and Values/Goals Discrepancy. We discuss each in detail and provide examples of questions that can be asked to the client. Be cautious of prematurely transitioning to Planning before sufficiently evoking DARN talk.

Additional Considerations

Please Note : As part of our content licensing agreement, these Motivational Interviewing courses are intended only for those practicing or providing services in Michigan, and only provide CEUs valid to Michigan providers. By enrolling in these courses you certify that you meet this criteria.

Course Objectives

  1. You will complete a review of resistance-lowering techniques.
  2. You will be able to describe the importance of the evocation process in MI.
  3. You will review the seven (7) kinds of change talk in Motivational Interviewing.
  4. You will be able to list and apply six (6) strategies for evoking change talk.
  5. You will get a chance to identify change talk in both written and audible client utterances.
  6. You will practice identifying change talk heard in client statements, even when it is positioned right alongside sustain talk.

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