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Test your BASICS knowledge

True or False

  1. BASICS was designed to eliminate alcohol consumption and related problems in college students.
    False: BASICS was designed to reduce alcohol consumption and related problems not eliminate them. It is based upon a risk reduction philosophy.
  2. BASICS can be conducted in one 20-minute session.
    False: BASICS is meant to be conducted in two 50-minute sessions. Brief Interventions can be conducted in less time, but should not be confused with BASICS that have several components that make it unique.
  3. BASICS borrows principles from Motivational interviewing as a way to have conversation with students.
    True: BASICS uses MI principals to facilitate a conversation with a student and increase their motivation to change.
  4. Any interaction that uses an MI approach with students, either in an individual or group format, can be considered a BASICS program.
    False: A BASICS intervention has a very intentional agenda. The founders of BASICS identified several core competencies that need to be a part of a BASICS interaction that preserves its fidelity and make it more than just a brief intervention.
  5. OARS are general Motivational Interviewing (MI) skills.
    True: Motivational Interviewing has several specific important elements, including OARS (Open ended questions, Affirmations, Reflective Listening, and Summaries). However, they are not unique to MI and, in fact, are general counseling skills.
  6. The “A” in OARS stands for Action Planning.
    False: The “A” stands for Affirmations. Affirmations are much more than compliments given by a facilitator. They are intended as a primary way to help a student identify his/her strengths, which, in turn, can help motivate them to make changes in their lifestyle.
  7. Good reflective listening involves only repeating what the student says.
    False: Although repeating what a student says is a form of reflective listening, it is one that should be used sparingly. If all a facilitator does is repeat word for word what a student says, it can make the interaction awkward. Skillful reflective listening goes beyond what a student is saying and can be a way to test a hypothesis about what the student isn’t directly saying or can get to what the student may be feeling. More importantly, it is a window for a facilitator to try to understand the experiences of the student as well as assist the student in grasping a better understanding of their unique situation.
  8. Saying to a student “on one hand you feel more comfortable in social situations when you are drinking, yet you also have concerns about getting into legal difficulties again” is an example of an amplified reflection.
    False: This is an example of a double-sided reflection. A double-sided reflection presents both sides of what a student is saying and highlight the ambivalence he she may be feeling.
  9. When conducting a feedback session, you should always include an importance and confidence ruler.
    False: Importance and confidence rulers are considered tools in the tool belt and are intended to be used when they serve the best purpose.
  10. A double-sided reflection should always be linked together with the word “but.”
    False: The purpose of a double-sided reflection is to point out the ambivalence that a student may feel. Using the conjunction “but” can often make it feel as if anything that comes before it is negated. Thus, inadvertently, the emphasis tends to be placed on the second half of the statement, which is not necessarily accurate. Using the word “and” or “yet” tends to keep the weight of both statements more even.
  11. In a feedback session, if a student exhibits signs of change talk, the facilitator should jump right to action planning and tell the student what he/she can do to change their drinking habits.
    False: Although the purpose of the session is to strive for change talk, jumping right to action planning may be premature and “out of phase” and can stop the momentum of the session. A facilitator may wish to work toward cultivating and strengthening change talk to further allow the student to make steps toward action planning.
  12. Providing student with a menu of options is never advisable.
    False: If a student is stuck and not sure where to go, providing a menu of options is advisable. This allows the student to shift through several possible scenarios and decide which one, if any, might be most applicable to his/her situation.
  13. If a student is ambivalent, it probably means he/she is precontemplative and is not ready to make any changes.
    False: Ambivalence is a natural part of any change process. If someone expresses ambivalence, it doesn’t automatically make them precontemplative. Making changes can be a difficult process, and ambivalence is seen as a normal natural part.
  14. If a student is resistant to change, it probably means he or she is in denial and there is nothing the BASICS facilitator can do.
    False: There may be many reasons why a student is resistant to change, and it may have nothing to do with denial. BASICS and MI suggest that strategies that are “out-of-phase” increase a student’s resistance, leading him or her to move back to an earlier stage of change. In this case, it is the job of the facilitator to roll with the resistance and develop an environment in which momentum can continue. Relying on reflective listening skills is critical to rolling with resistance.
  15. The primary purpose of the feedback session is for the facilitator to give advice and recommendations to the students about changes they need to make in their drinking habits and patterns.
    False: Giving advice and making recommendations, although appropriate, is done in small doses and typically in the last part of the session. The primary purpose of the feedback session is to unfold the information that has been gathered about the student in a way he or she may have never considered it before. This is accomplished by provide a personalized feedback mechanism. The purpose is to increase accurate information, increase motivation for change, and discuss student-sanctioned risk-reduction strategies.
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Program
  • Center for Health and Well-Being
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    Indiana, PA 15705
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