When using motivational techniques to interviewing clients, the counselor assesses the client’s motivation. This is achieved by using motivational interviewing strategies, which include asking open-ended questions, listening reflectively, affirming the client, summarizing the client’s views of change, eliciting self-motivational statements, recognizing and addressing resistance, recognizing readiness for change, and identifying discrepancies. Once the client’s stage is identified, the counselor uses these strategies to support continued progress through the stages.


Close Vs. Open-Ended Questions

Close-ended questions are an efficient way of obtaining information quickly; however, they allow the client to be passive, answering each question and quietly waiting for the next. The interviewer is in control, and the interviewee responds to each cue. Open-ended questions encourage the client to express himself or herself and to adopt an active role in his or her treatment. Below example represents examples of both types of questions.


Examples of Close – and Open-Ended Questions when Interviewing Clients


Close-Ended Questions

• How old were you when you first smoked marijuana?

• Was it offered to you by a family member?

• How old were you when you began using it daily?

• Have you ever had a bad experience with marijuana?

• When did you first think you had a marijuana problem?


Open-Ended Questions

• Tell me about your early experiences with marijuana.

• How did your marijuana use change over time?

• Please describe some of your recent experiences with marijuana.

• What was it that made you think you had a problem with marijuana?