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Addressing ambivalence using change talk


Ambivalence occurs when service users have conflicting motivations about the desired change. On one hand, the service user may see the benefits of the change. On the other hand, service users may see equal or greater benefits to maintaining the status quo.

You will determine which “flavor” of ambivalence the service user in your case study is demonstrating. Then, you will consider how to use change talk to help them move beyond their ambivalence.

To Prepare

  •  Pay particular attention to the different “flavors” of ambivalence and how to evoke change talk to help service users move beyond ambivalence.
  • Identify which flavor of ambivalence your service user is demonstrating.
  • Consider how you would evoke change talk to help the service user move beyond their ambivalence. 

By Day 4

Identify the Hart City case study you were assigned in the subject line of your post.

Post a description of which flavor of ambivalence your service user is demonstrating, and explain why. Finally, explain how you would evoke change talk to help the service user move beyond their ambivalence. Be specific and use examples to illustrate your explanation. 



Alma is a 40-year-old woman who has just been admitted to the Hart City Substance Abuse Clinic via a court order. She had three driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in the past year. Recently, while driving under the influence, she jumped a curve and hit a pedestrian. He survived; however, he needs extensive rehabilitation. The police convicted Alma of reckless endangerment as well as drunk driving and ordered her to an inpatient facility. Alma is married with four children all under the age of 16. She is the chief executive officer (CEO) of a multinational organization. Her job requires her to travel two weeks each month. Early on, Alma and her husband decided that he would stay home and raise the children. He is also a writer, but he has yet to publish anything significant. Alma has been the sole financial provider for her family for 16 years. Alma adamantly denies that she has a substance abuse problem and does not want to stay in treatment for the required 30 days. She is hostile towards the staff and in need of an intake assessment and referral for treatment. Her family is also in need of referrals for emotional support.


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