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Informal Discussions in Substance Abuse Treatment Sessions.

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2009;36(4):366-375. [doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2008.08.003].

Steve Martino, PhD (Connecticut Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center, Yale University, NE Node), Samuel A. Ball, PhD (Yale Community School of Medicine, NE Node), Charla Nich (Connecticut VA Healthcare Center, Yale University, NE Node), Tami L. Frankforter (Connecticut VA Healthcare Center, Yale University, NE Node), Kathleen M. Carroll, PhD (Connecticut VA Healthcare Center, Yale University, NE Node).

This study evaluated the extent to which counselors initiated informal discussions (i.e., general discussions and self-disclosures about matters unrelated to treatment) with their clients during treatment sessions within two National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network protocols involving adaptations of motivational interviewing (MI), CTN-0004 and CTN-0005. Sixty counselors across the two protocols had 736 sessions independently rated for counselor treatment fidelity and the occurrence of informal discussions. The results showed that 88% of the counselors initiated informal discussions in their sessions and that most of these discussions involved counselors sharing personal information or experiences they had in common with their clients. The major finding was that counselor training in MI was associated with significantly less informal discussions across sessions. A higher frequency of informal discussion was related to less counselor MI proficiency and less in-session change in client motivation, although unrelated to client program retention and substance use outcomes. The findings suggest that although some informal discussions may help build an alliance between counselors and clients, too much of it may hinder counselors' proficient implementation of MI treatment strategies and the clients' motivational enhancement process. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2008)

Keywords: Behavior therapy | Community health services | Counselors | CTN platform/ancillary study | Fidelity of implementation | Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) | Motivational interviewing (MI) | Retention - Treatment | Therapeutic alliance | Training | Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (journal)

Document No: 320, PMID: 18835679, PMCID PMC2705985

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 10/7/2008.

Ball, Samuel A. search mail
Carroll, Kathleen M. search mail
Frankforter, Tami L. search mail
Martino, Steve search mail
Nich, Charla search mail
NIDA-CTN-0004 search www
NIDA-CTN-0005 search www
New England Consortium (formerly New England) (Lead - both) search www
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