Setting the Agenda Copy

Topic Progress:

A skillful guide using Motivational Interviewing will start a session by engaging the client in a conversation about where he or she would like to go with the conversation and which topics are a priority. Set the table with a number of options and then evaluate (in collaboration with the client) which topics are priorities.

Agenda Setting

  1. Below are some MI-consistent ways to engage a consumer in an initial conversation about his/her concerns:
    • Here are some topics we might talk about for a few minutes
    • They are all things that can be related to your health/mental health
    • I wonder if there is one of these you might like to talk about as an area where you are concerned or could improve your health/mental health
    • Or perhaps there is another topic you’d rather discuss in the time we have(?)
  2. Use a visual tool (see below) to offer a menu of possible options and make sure to leave one or two blank for the consumer to fill in.
  3. Then prioritize the list to see what is on top of the consumer’s agenda and begin there.


Agenda Setting

Source: Miller and Rollnick, 2010

Engaging the Consumer and Following Her Agenda Video

Here is a 5-minute video of an MI interview with a young women who is exploring her drinking. The video demonstrates a less systematic way of inviting the consumer to set the agenda and also demonstrates how reflective listening (the “R” in OARS) engages the consumer in a non-confrontational exploration of her drinking.

This completes our first class lesson.

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