Examine Client’s Recent Experiences

The counselor asks the client to describe his or her recent experiences with marijuana:

Did the client stop use since the previous session?

• Did the client make an effort to stop?

• Was the client confronted with any high-risk or tempting situations?

• What strategies did the client use? Did the client try any of the strategies in Learning New Coping Strategies (form 1A)? Were they successful?

• Were there any instances when the client effectively handled a “hot” situation (i.e., very high risk)?

The counselor acknowledges client efficacy and reinforces the strategies that the client found useful. The client’s report on the week’s events provides the counselor with an opportunity to use motivational interviewing techniques. As the client talks, the counselor’s objective is to elicit information and to use that information to provide reflections, express empathy, identify discrepancies, elicit self-motivational statements, and roll with resistance:

Shirley (S): Well, I’ve almost completely stopped smoking since our last session.

C: You seem very pleased with yourself! How did you do that?

S: Right after the last session I kept thinking about how pot has kept me from doing the things I want to do. I really want to be a teacher, and I realized that as long as I kept smoking, I would always feel bad. So I went home and smoked one last time, then flushed the remainder of my stash down the toilet! During the last week I’ve wanted to get high several times, but I didn’t.

C: What did you do when you felt like smoking?

S: Well, I talked to my husband. I read about that in the handout you gave me last week.