Many women are at risk for unintended pregnancy. Many of these women drink at risky levels. Drinking during pregnancy can cause a variety of birth defects. The most commonly known one is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is one of a number of birth defects and developmental disabilities under the umbrella of disorders called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). Check on CDC’s new app on FASD and get the facts and prevention tools.
Overview of CHOICES. CHOICES is a 4 session Motivational Interviewing plus Feedback Intervention to help women reduce their risk of Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy (AEP). CHOICES and its derivative interventions work across many settings, and studies have shown it to be a powerful way to promote behavior change. There are now 1, 2, and 4 session versions available, including a single session telephone version. You can see information about CHOICES and other AEP prevention studies in the Projects section.
Materials on CHOICES. The CDC has a supply of CHOICES learning materials that include a facilitator guide and slideset, the CHOICES Counselor Manual, and the CHOICES Client Workbook, along with Video examples showing how to facilitate CHOICES activities. You can download the print materials here to help you decide whether to order the entire CHOICES Curriculum including videos.
CHOICES Training and Coaching. Since 1997, Louise Floyd, Mary Velasquez, Mark and Linda Sobell, and I have been collaborating on developing and testing the CHOICES intervention, and more recently, on disseminating it. CDC is funding a number of sites and settings to test CHOICES in the real world, such as in Baltimore and Denver Public Health and STD Clinics, in LA and NYC Hospital Systems, through SAMHSA-funded grants to substance abuse treatment clinics, and in the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. We have found that before sites implement CHOICES, it is critical to ensure staff are well-trained in Motivational Interviewing and the CHOICES Intervention itself. As a team, Mary Velasquez, Linda Sobell, and I have developed the CHOICES materials available through the CDC. We have also tested a refined a method of training that has allowed agencies to launch CHOICES smoothly.
MI Training. MI is a deceptively simple set of counselor skills that facilitate change. Typically, people learn MI during a workshop followed by practice and supervision. MI training can be a part of CHOICES training, or can be done prior to CHOICES training.
CHOICES Training. Typically, we do a 2.5 day training event to help agency staff learn the CHOICES intervention, including practicing its activities. This experiential training prepares you and your staff members to implement CHOICES well.
CHOICES counselor skills assessment and coaching. Following CHOICES and/or MI training, some agencies ensure the quality of their staff skills by engaging in a process of taping sessions and sending them to be coded. Following coding, feedback can be delivered both to the staff member to refine his or her skills, and to the agency to determine aggregate performance.
If you would like to discuss whether CHOICES might be a good fit for you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will arrange a free initial phone consultation to determine whether CHOICES is a good fit for you, and to develop a possible training and implementation plan for your agency.
NEW: CHOICES in GROUP! I am now working with the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota to pilot test a model of CHOICES in group. Mary Velasquez and I are working on a treatment manual for other agencies to test and use. Contact me if you are interested in discussing this exciting adaptation of CHOICES for a group delivery format!