Module 9: working with young people on AOD issues: facilitator's guide

6.4 Counterproductive assumptions

Page last updated: 2004

Rollnick and Mason (1995) identified some assumptions that health, welfare and other workers can make when working with people with alcohol and/or other drug problems, particularly in brief contacts. These also apply to work with young people. The following 'dangerous' assumptions are not wrong, but can negatively impact on brief interventions.

  • This person ought to make a change

  • This person wants to make a change

  • This person's health is a prime motivating factor for change

  • If the person decides not to change, the intervention has failed

  • People are either motivated to change or not

  • Now is the right time to consider change

  • A tough approach is most effective

  • I'm the expert. He or she must follow my advice.
The following could be a whiteboard exercise.

Brainstorm exercise

Question - Describe some negative assumptions made in your workplace? How do these affect your work?