On the One Hand... On the Other Hand

This skill is helpful when the patient's behavior is incongruent or inconsistent with their stated goals.  It helps the person gain clarity about what the obstacles are, so that they can make choices that are consistent with what is most important to them.

Examples

“So it sounds like on one hand you are saying you really want to wait until [fill in with something they have said], and yet on the other hand, part of you would like to have a baby right now...  Do I have that right?”

“On the one hand, you would really like to finish school before you become a parent, and on the other hand it’s hard to be consistent with your [pill use, or depo use, or condom use]…"

“So I hear you saying on one hand that it’s very important to you to wait until you are ready... and it’s great hearing about all of your plans; and on the other hand, you had unprotected sex last night?”

"On the one hand, you said that you are understandably distressed about getting chlamydia again, and on the other hand asking your husband to use condoms feels really uncomfortable for you.  Do I have that right?"

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