Use the Power of “And”
Patients often see situations in absolute terms and have difficulty recognizing or tolerating ambivalence. Positive change slows as patients struggle with conflicting thoughts and feelings. Although they have the best intentions, clinicians inadvertently stall change by failing to see that the patients are conflicted in their desires. “And” statements are a way for clinicians to quickly establish rapport with patients by helping them to identify opposing viewpoints or desires. These statements also validate the patient’s experience of ambivalence and thereafter facilitate positive change.