The Brief Negotiated Interview Script

"How are you today? My name is Mr. Stevenson. Now that you've decided to enroll in the study, would you mind discussing your drug use?"

"It's OK."

"Please think back to a time when you were not using. What are some of the differences you notice when you have been taking drugs from when you have not been taking drugs?" Or, "Help me understand what are some of the ways drugs have been useful or good, and then think of the less useful or good things about your drug use."

The community outreach worker is listening and, with a nonjudgmental tone, reflecting back what the person says. The pros and cons are summarized on the basis of what the person says, and then the person is asked, "Where does that leave you?"

The community outreach worker then shows the person the readiness ruler and asks, "Please take this pencil and mark on this scale of 0 to 10, if 10 is ready and 0 is not ready, where you find yourself. It seems that you are unsure . . . is that right?" Clarify: "What will it take to get ready to change?" "What are the pros and cons of changing?"

The patient is then asked, "How ready are you to enter some type of treatment?" The outreach worker poses a question for those who are close to ready: "What are some things you have tried that worked for you or someone you know?"

If the patient is just not ready, the community outreach worker says, "Well, if you change your mind or feel more ready, you will have a list of places to call. There is help and support; all you have to do is ask for it."

With the unsure and ready patients, the community outreach worker reviews options and negotiates a realistic plan with the person that is likely to reduce the negative consequences and substitute an alternative for the positives. The community outreach worker communicates optimism, based on personal experience, that treatment works. The person's intention to act is reinforced by the outreach worker. If the interviewer and the patient agree on a treatment option, the interviewer will ask for a verbal contract with the patient to carry out the plan.