Change Talk

Change talk is a patient/client's own statements that favor change. For example, "I wish I could stop drinking so much because I don't want that to be an example to my children."

Change talk can be heard by listening for:

  • Desire – I wish/want to...
  • Ability – I can/could...
  • Reasons – It's important because...
  • Need – I have to...

On the other hand, sustain talk is a patient/client's own argument for not changing, for maintaining the status quo.

Examples of Change Talk

Try to determine which of the following statements are examples of change talk. TAP to see the answer.

I have to cut down on my drinking so I can make it to work on time.
My spouse wants me to give up cigarettes.
The doctor thinks it is important for me to reduce my alcohol use.
I want to stop taking my pain meds, but the pain won't go away.

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