Motivational Interviewing Worksheet

Help your clients overcome their struggles with substance abuse, addiction, or other behavior harming their well-being by developing your motivational interviewing skills using our Motivational Interviewing worksheet.

By RJ Gumban on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What Is A Motivational Interviewing Worksheet?

It can be frustrating to have a patient come to you with issues that seem entirely changeable. Whether this is substance abuse, addiction, or poor lifestyle choices regarding exercise or nutrition, you may feel as though the solution to their problems is a simple matter of them making the decision to change. However, for many, it is not so simple. As a practitioner, you are in a unique position of being able to help through the specialized conversational technique of motivational interviewing.

Motivational interviewing is a conversational technique for practitioners to encourage clients to change behaviors that are not in their best interests. This can be any changeable aspect of the client’s life that is negatively impacting their well-being, which could include, but is not limited to, substance abuse, addiction, violence, overeating, physical inactivity, or smoking cessation.

For early career practitioners, or those unfamiliar with motivational interviewing techniques, we have created a dedicated to break down each part of the motivational interview. This worksheet is a simple tool for you to use in your sessions with clients to help to structure the conversation according to motivational interview principles, and ultimately, motivate your clients to start making positive changes in their own lives.

Printable Motivational Interviewing Worksheets

Download these motivational interviewing worksheets to provide better treatment outcomes for your clients.

How To Use This Motivational Interviewing Worksheet 

The sections of this worksheet are designed to reinforce the four skills involved in motivational interviewing. These are:

  1. Asking Open-ended questions to encourage your patient to share their struggles with you in their own words 
  2. Affirming your client’s perspective through positive statements and empathetic encouragement. 
  3. Reflective Questioning, or rephrasing your client’s statements as reflective questions to get to the heart of their issues.
  4. Summarizing key factors of your client’s struggles.

These skills are often referred to using the acronym OARS. 

To start using this motivational interviewing worksheet and incorporating the OARS skills into sessions with your clients, just follow the simple step-by-step guide we have provided below. 

Step One. Download the PDF worksheet

The first step is to get a copy of the worksheet. You can download the PDF version of this worksheet from the link on this page, and if you prefer, you can continue to print out this resource and fill it in by hand.

Step Two. Fill in your patient’s details

Once you have a copy of the worksheet, proceed to fill in your client’s details at the top of the page so you don’t get the worksheet mixed up with another client. 

Step Three. Complete the OARS sections

Now for the main event. Either concurrently with your motivational interview, or shortly after, fill out each of the four OARS sections in any order that works for you. You could even write down some open-ended questions prior to the motivational interviewing session using this worksheet if you want to be extra prepared.

Step Four. Store securely

The last step is to store the document securely in your client’s record.

Motivational Interviewing Worksheet Example (Sample)

To see how a completed motivational interviewing worksheet might look, take a look at our sample worksheet based on a simulated session. How you utilize this tool, and the details you choose to include, is up to you and may differ from this example.

Download this Motivational Interviewing Example (Sample) here: 

Motivational Interviewing Worksheet Example (Sample)

Who Can Use this Printable Motivational Interviewing Worksheets (PDF)?

Despite being a motivational interviewing worksheet, this resource is not designed to be a client hand-out and should be completed by a practitioner following or in conversation with their client. There are many different practitioners who may benefit from incorporating motivational interviewing into their practice. These include:

  1. Therapists and Psychotherapists
  2. Clinical Psychologists
  3. Counselors and coaches
  4. Addiction counselors
  5. Primary care physicians
  6. Nurses and mental health nurses

Additionally, this worksheet is particularly suited to those in the early stages of any of the above careers or students/trainees who want to gain confidence with the skills required for motivational interviewing.

Why Is This Form Useful For Therapists

This worksheet serves as a tool to help therapists ensure they are employing the four key skills of motivational interviewing; open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summarizing. 

These sections can be filled out in any order, and relevant information can be added either during the session or shortly after. This can be done either by hand or digitally using the interactive PDF textboxes.

Alternatively, this form can help a therapist to plan prior to a session by jotting down potential open-ended questions or affirmations prior to their client’s arrival.

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Why Use Carepatron For Motivational Interviewing Worksheet Software?

As a healthcare practitioner, consider Carepatron your best friend who handles all your practice’s administration for you. Through Carepatron, you can automate SMS or email appointment reminders, manage your client list, schedule face-to-face or video appointments, manage billing and payments, and enjoy many more smart features designed to save you time and minimize your administrative workload.

Your clients can benefit from accessing their own dedicated patient portal through Carepatron, from which they can schedule appointments with you, or access their medical records held in Carepatron. Speaking of, Carepatron offers bank-level digitally encrypted and HIPAA-compliant data storage so you can rest assured your clients’ sensitive medical information is secure. In addition to security, Carepatron is easily accessed through our mobile or desktop platform, so you can start working flexibly and have access to your patient’s document wherever you may need it.

Motivational Interviewing Worksheet Software
When should I use Motivational Interviewing Worksheets?
When should I use Motivational Interviewing Worksheets?

Commonly asked questions

When should I use Motivational Interviewing Worksheets?

Motivational interviewing worksheets can be a useful tool for taking notes during or shortly after a client’s session with you. This is to ensure you recall the motivational interview techniques you used with your client, and don’t forget any details.

What are Open-ended questions?

Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with “Yes” or “No”, or a simple one-word answer. These questions might start with “tell me about…”, “how”, or “why”. The goal of open-ended questions is to get your client to tell their story in their words and share their own perspective.

Who should I use Motivational Interviewing Worksheets for?

Motivational interviewing is a technique best employed for clients demonstrating low motivation to change their behavior, low confidence in their ability to enact change, ambivalence towards making a change, and who place a low importance on the need for them to make a change. Motivational interviewing will likely be unnecessary for clients with high motivation and belief in their ability to change, and similarly for clients with absolutely no interest in enacting a change.

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