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Brief Intervention

MT SBIRT Project

Drinking and Your Health
Healthcare Role
Alcohol Screening
Referral Sources
Additional Resources

The Brief Intervention is designed to help identify and encourage behavior change, increase the patient’s awareness of problems, consequences, and risks associated with their drinking patterns by  exploring and resolving ambivalence toward and motivating behavior change. The brief intervention is a short 5-15 minute conversation with the patient that uses motivational interviewing techniques.

Who Can Perform Brief Interventions?
Any healthcare professional can perform brief interventions, including nurses, physicians, mid-levels, social workers, case management, health educators, pastoral care.
What are the Components of Brief Interventions?
  1. Raise the Subject—Establish rapport by asking permission to visit, setting a neutral, non-judgmental climate, explain your role, and engage the patient.
  2. Provide Feedback— Review current drinking patterns, express concern in a non-judgmental way, make connection between alcohol and reason for visit, and provide information on drinking guidelines
  3. Enhance Motivation—Assess the patient’s readiness to change by asking for the patient to score how ready they are to change his/her drinking patterns and discuss pros and cons to behavior change. Use reflective listening and ask open-ended questions.
  4. Negotiate and Advise—Assist the patient in identifying a goal, provide sound medical advice related to how the goal can help reduce the risk for injury or health problems, and provide health information materials (Drinking Agreement, Back in Focus brochure, Rethinking Drinking brochure, list of Referral Sources) (provide these links)

Source: Reducing Patient At-Risk Drinking, ENA, 2008.

How Can I Learn More About Brief Interventions / Motivational Interviewing?
These websites (this links to Additional Resource page under BI section) provide links that either offer training services or contain training materials you may find helpful.


Montana SBIRT Project Contact Info:

Injury Prevention Program Manager
(406) 444-4126

Page last updated 07/01/2014