Ask open-ended questions “What questions do you have for me?”
“What can I do that is most helpful for you?”
Clarify the facts “How far along you are means you have more time to decide.”
Reflect / Normalize “You seem to be feeling…”
“It is ok to cry here.”
“Many patients feel confused/scared/ambivalent…”
Seek to understand “Can you say more about that?”
Validate; don’t fix “Being a hard decision doesn’t make it wrong.”
Reframe the situation “It sounds like you are being thoughtful and making the most responsible decision by …”
Reassure the patient Encourage them to trust and respect their decisions.
Check in about support “It may be helpful to tell or bring someone you trust. Do you have someone like that?”
Communicate acceptance with tone and body language  Be mindful of your tone. Use eye contact. Sit at their level.
Use silence Give them time to finish their sentences and thoughts.
Give the patient control “Which would you prefer?”
Keep your patient informed about the next steps
Address Common Fears
Pain Review options for pain control and relaxation.
Spiritual conflict “Can you tell me more about your beliefs?”
Impact on health Review safety and lack of impact on fertility, mental health and overall health.
Consider language and literacy level Approach counseling based on appropriate language and exercises based on literacy level.
False reassurances “This won’t hurt.”  Instead prepare them for some discomfort and reassure them that it is fast.
Over-identification “I know exactly how you feel.”
Medical or stigmatizing jargon “Pregnancy termination” is overly medical. “Elective abortion,” implies a chosen vs. indicated procedure. Instead use “abortion” or “induced abortion.”
Loaded statements “Your family supports your decision, right?”


Early Abortion Training Workbook Copyright © 2016 by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. All Rights Reserved.