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How to construct a scaling question in Motivational Interviewing

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Scaling questions are used in Motivational interviewing (MI), a counseling approach that helps a client to become more internally motivated to make a change. It MI is commonly associated with addiction treatment, but is also useful in motivating medical patients to adhere to medication, exercise, and other behavioral treatment plans. MI scaling questions elicit response that leads the client to developing their own evidence for making a change. The formulation of the questions and use of the scale is sometimes challenging for counselors-in-training, who have use scaling questions in the traditional way. This solution clarifies the process.

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Solution Summary

Scaling questions are used in many types of counseling, but those used in Motivational Interviewing are specifically constructed to help clients internalize the motivation to change. This solution provides a simple explanation of how to construct scaling questions for Motivational Interviewing.

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Motivational Interviewing scaling questions are designed to elicit a response that the client can internalize, and there are three stages of change at which scaling questions can be useful. THey have to do with importance. confidence, and barriers.

1. The first scaling question has to do with the importance of making a change, and the question is easy to formulate. Here is an example:

"On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most important, how important is it to you to stop using drugs?"

The follow up question is a little more complicated. It has to get the person to think ...

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