OARS: The Fundamental Method of MI Copy

Topic Progress:

OARS (Open-Ended Questions, Affirmations, Reflective Listening, Summarizing) is an acronym for the primary counseling skills used in Motivational Interviewing. Watch the PowerPoint presentation below for a description of this method and examples of how to engage consumers of behavioral health services using these interviewing strategies.

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How Do I Know I am Doing it Right?

Here are some questions to reflect on from the Center for Evidence Based Practice at Case Western Reserve University. If you answer yes, you are on the right track with MI.

  • Do I listen more than I talk?
  • Do I keep myself sensitive and open to this person’s issues, whatever they may be?
  • Do I invite this person to talk about and explore his/her own ideas for change?
  • Do I encourage this person to talk about his/her reasons for not changing?
  • Do I ask permission to give my feedback?
  • Do I reassure this person that ambivalence to change is normal?
  • Do I help this person identify successes and challenges from his/her past and relate them to present change efforts?
  • Do I seek to understand this person?
  • Do I summarize for this person what I am hearing?
  • Do I value this person’s opinion more than my own?
  • Do I remind myself that this person is capable of making his/her own choices?
Source: Encouraging Motivation to Change: Am I Doing this Right?