Brief Intervention: 7 Steps


This page is part of a larger SBIRT training activity provided by Clinical Tools, Inc. Our SBIRT activities provide clinical skills training for substance use problems to primary care providers, counselors, and students alike.
Please refer to the SBIRT Training homepage to sign-up and choose an activity!

If you do not have an account: This page is part of a larger SBIRTTraining activity provided by Clinical Tools, Inc. SBIRTTraining provides clinical skills training for healthcare providers in screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for substance use problems. Please refer to the homepage to sign-up and begin the activity!

Current accounts: If you see this message, the system has logged you out because of inactivity. To resume:

  1. Log In
  2. Go To the Activity Homepage (Module list page). Note: For Buprenorphine waiver training, return to to find the link to your activity page.
  3. Re-Enter Module To Resume Training

The basic steps in a brief intervention are:

  1. Confirm your concern with the patient's responses to screening questions.
  2. Ask patient's view of the situation, barriers to quitting, and risk factors for relapse.
  3. Discuss their personal responsibility for health effects and other consequences of substance use.
  4. Provide the patient with non-judgmental advice and discuss benefits of quitting.
  5. Mention treatment options when appropriate and gauge patient's reaction.
  6. Encourage and support the patient. Solicit commitment to a clear goal.
  7. Provide patient education and resources.
Practice Tips
Ideas for fitting brief interventions in a busy schedule:
  • Do as many brief interventions as you can in an appointment, but even one is better than none.
  • For patients who return regularly, a step can be completed at each appointment. Ask if they have given any thought to what you talked about last time.
  • Involve the whole clinic team. Many of these steps can be achieved by nursing or other staff.