Open-Ended Questions, Affirmations, Reflections, and Summaries (OARS) make up the major skills of MI.  They are client-centered which helps the client talk about what is most important to them.  These skills can help work with resistance (discord and sustain talk). OARS by themselves is not MI, rather it is how they are used strategically to help someone identify change behaviors and elicit and respond to change talk around these change behaviors to aid in building motivation and resolving ambivalence for change.


O-pen Questions

§ Invite discussion and elaboration

§ Do NOTinvite brief answers

§ Stems:

§ “What…?”, “How…?”, “Why…?”, “Tell me…”, “Describe…”, “Explain…”, “Talk to me about…”


§ Emphasize a strength

§ Notice and appreciate a positive action

§ Should be genuine

§ Express positive regard

§ Strengthen the working alliance


§ A hypothesis (guess) about speaker’s meaning

§ A statement to convey understanding

§ Intonation down

§ Stems:

§ “So…”, “Sounds like…”, “So you…”, “Seems like …”, “It’s like…”, “You feel…”


§ Set up statement: “Let me see if I have this right…”

§ Reflection, reflection, reflection

§ Open question:

                “So where does that leave us?”,
                “What else would you like to add?” or
                “Now, tell me about ….”(to re-direct)