loading gif icon


How to Use Elicit-Provide-Elicit in Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing serves as a pivotal approach in fostering behavioral change, prioritizing empathy and collaboration. Central to this technique is the “elicit-provide-elicit” framework, a strategic dialogue aimed at leveraging the client’s experiences to effectively impart therapeutic insights.

By first eliciting the client’s understanding, followed by providing tailored information in accessible language, and finally eliciting their assimilation of the new knowledge, practitioners create a supportive environment for transformation. This method not only enhances comprehension but also empowers clients to confront negative behaviors.

In this article, we’ll delve into the mechanics and practical application of elicit-provide-elicit within motivational interviewing, offering insights and example questions to guide transformative conversations.

What is motivational interviewing?

Before we examine the elicit-provide-elicit framework, let’s quickly review what motivational interviewing is.

The core objective of motivational interviewing is to elicit and provide a client-centered, collaborative dialogue aimed at enhancing an individual’s motivation for change. This methodology is rooted in empathy, active listening, and a non-confrontational demeanor, fostering a conducive environment for individuals to analyze and articulate their own motivations for change.

Incorporating elicit-provide-elicit into your motivational interviewing techniques can help frame the reasons for change within your clients’ own experiences. Let’s explore how that works.

How elicit-provide-elicit works

The elicit-provide-elicit framework is a motivational interviewing technique that uses the client’s experiences to present and understand the therapeutic information presented by a behavioral health professional. This technique makes information more relatable to your clients, allowing them to truly grasp the material and making it easier for them to begin the process of changing negative behavior patterns.

The elicit-provide-elicit technique should be used as a dialogue between provider and client. As the provider, begin the conversation by eliciting your client’s knowledge around the issue that prompted them to seek your services. This will help you avoid giving your client information they already have, which could be disengaging.

After you have a clear understanding of what your client knows and needs to know, move on to providing them with the information they need. It’s important to avoid jargon and use clear, easily understandable language to ensure your client understands what you’re telling them. Additionally, you want to provide your client with one piece of information at a time. This methodical approach will enable them to properly absorb the new information you’re presenting.

Lastly, you will elicit their understanding of the information you just gave them. This stage includes gauging their comprehension of the new knowledge, as well any emotional responses and interpretations of data that run contrary to their current behavior. By eliciting your client’s understanding, you’re also giving them more time to take in and retain what you’re saying.

How to use elicit-provide-elicit in motivational interviewing

Now that we understand what elicit-provide-elicit is and how it works in motivational interviewing, let’s look at some example questions to ask as part of an elicit-provide-elicit session.

For this example, let’s say you’re working with a client who wants to change their behavior around alcohol consumption.

  • Elicit:
    • “What is your current understanding of how alcohol use will prevent you from achieving your goals in life?”
  • Provide:
    • “Did you know that 1-in-5 preventable deaths for adults between 20-49 years old are related to excessive alcohol use?”
    • “We’ve talked before about how much you love your kids. Studies have found that adolescents are more likely to experiment with alcohol if their parents binge drink.”
    • These statistics were sourced via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Elicit:
    • “What do you make of this information?”
    • “Does what I’ve said surprise you at all?”

From here, allow your client time to absorb what you’ve told them and provide a thoughtful answer to your final questions. To conclude your session, summarize your discussion and review any insights made.

Stages of Change and Integrated Health Care

Watch Dr. Carlo DiClemente, co-creator of the Transtheoretical Model of intentional behavior change, discuss adoption and use of this model within a whole health, integrated care framework.

Watch now →

Connect with Us

to find out more about our training and resources

Request Demo