Course Overview

This course will go into depth on the importance of finding Change Talk with Motivational Interviewing. We explain the different strengths and forms of change talk, and go over how using the acronym EARS we can use MI skills to reinforce change talk. Within this course are numerous opportunities for you to test your understanding of the content.

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Credit Hours: MCBAP-R (0.0), MCBAP-S (1.0), Mi-CEC pending - under review, Nursing (0.0)
This module has been designed to conform to the WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility standards.

Topics Covered


We review the two types of Change Talk, Preparatory and Mobilizing, and the role Change Talk plays in Motivational Interviewing. We also review Developing Discrepancy as a way to elicit change talk, enhance change talk, discover reasons for change, confront differences, and go deeper with the client. Multiple opportunities are provided in this module to test your knowledge on discrepancy and evoking change talk.

Varieties of Change Talk

When a client is expressing change talk, it can take the form of a Desire, Ability, Reason, Need, or Commitment to change. These forms can range from ambivalent and tentative to very strong and sure. It is important to respond appropriately to the strength of change talk that your client is expressing. We provide multiple choice questions that ask for you to decide whether a clients expression of change talk is “strong” or “Not-So-Strong”.

Responding to Change Talk

When we hear change talk we can respond using the OARS skills. These skills allow the client to hear the change talk again and also allow us to reinforce change talk through evoking more of it, and help the client to explore further any desire, ability, reason, need, or commitment to change that they have expressed. We individually explain how each of the OARS skills can be used to respond to change talk and provide an exercise that allows you to identify the change talk in a client's statement and determine a response based on the provided response type.

Reinforcing Change Talk

When reinforcing change talk, we are attempting to evoke more and stronger change or commitment talk. We do not want to instill change talk, this will surely make the client backup from us and start to defend. Using the acronym EARS from the OARS skills we can respond to and reinforce change talk. We provide example reflections to give to a client in order to reinforce change 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 developing discrepancy.
  2. You will be able to recognize that change talk comes in varieties and identify two different types of change talk; preparatory and mobilizing.
  3. You will practice 3 reponses to change talk; (1) reinforce it, (2) evoke more of it, (3) explore the change talk.
  4. You will be able to recognize change talk that might be hidden in ambivalent statements. We call this "snatching change talk out of the jaws of ambivalence!"
  5. You will review how to reinforce change talk with "EARS" - Elaborate, Affirm, Reflect and Summarize.
  6. You will engage in actual practice demonstrations of using EARS - evaluating and choosing the correct application of these four responses.

What People Are Saying

I was happy with my overall experience with the module. It was user friendly and provided multiple instructions on how to access the next needed section.

- Amber H.