Free Talk is a six-session group MI intervention developed for at-risk youth with a first-time alcohol or drug offense. Free Talk is based on a motivational interviewing approach. MI allows the client’s values, opinions, and arguments for change to be the most important component of the discussion. Moreover, the guiding approach of MI allows at-risk youth, who may be inherently distrustful of authority, to give voice to their frustration without disrupting or slowing down the intervention process. Each Free Talk session lasts approximately 55 minutes.
Session 1 focuses on the use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) among youth, provides normative feedback, and discusses stages of change. Session 2 discusses myths and realities about AOD and how youth's beliefs can affect their AOD use. Session 3 focuses on the "path to problems" and helps youth think about choices related to their AOD use. Session 4 focuses on how AOD use may affect communication. Session 5 focuses on how AOD use can affect the brain. Session 6 focuses on how AOD use may lead to other high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex or driving while impaired.
It is important to note that adolescents are going to be at different places in terms of their willingness and confidence to make changes in their AOD use. Many of the exercises in the Free Talk manual will help youth identify how ready they are to make a change and help facilitators tailor the session to their readiness.
- Describe the basics of motivational interviewing (MI) and understand why it is appropriate to use with adolescents.
- Identify strategies for using MI in a group of adolescents.
- Describe how to share accurate normative information about the use of drugs and alcohol with adolescents in an MI-consistent manner.
- Describe how to use MI to talk to adolescents about the possible effects of alcohol and drug use on the brain.
- Describe how to effectively present the balanced placebo design experiment to help adolescents understand the true effects of alcohol and drugs.
- Describe how to use rulers in a group to find out where adolescents are in their readiness to make a change in their use of alcohol and drugs.
- Understand how to apply the decisional balance exercise to get group members thinking about reasons why adolescents use and don't use alcohol and drugs.
Elizabeth D'Amico PhD, Karen Osilla PhD, Eric Pedersen PhD
Middle school counselors, clinicians, social workers, intervention facilitators
Self-paced online training course
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Final Test Instructions:
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