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Change Talk: Encouraging client arguments for change.

One of the things that makes Motivational Interviewing unique and different from other methods of counseling is the emphasis in MI on "change talk." Change talk is defined as client speech that favors movement in the direction of healthy behavior change. When we hear change talk, the client is arguing for change. In MI, we want to encourage change talk so we learn how to recognize and reinforce client change talk. We also learn specific techniques to elicit this kind of language because the more a client argues for change, the more likely he or she will actually make a healthy change in behavior.
There are several types of change talk identifiable in client speech. There are statements of desire, ability, need, reasons and commitment. The first four of these types are preliminary or preparatory types of change talk. A person might say that he wants to change, can change, or give you good reasons to change or tell you why he needs to change. All these statements should be reco…