To investigate the impact of counselor style, a 2-session motivational checkup was offered to 42 problem drinkers (18 women and 24 men) who were randomly assigned to 3 groups: (a) immediate checkup with directive-confrontational counseling, (b) immediate checkup with client-centered counseling, or (c) delayed checkup (waiting-list control). Overall, the intervention resulted in a 57% reduction in drinking within 6 weeks, which was maintained at 1 year. Clients receiving immediate checkup showed significant reduction in drinking relative to controls. The 2 counseling styles were discriminable on therapist behaviors coded from audiotapes. The directive-confrontational style yielded significantly more resistance from clients, which in turn predicted poorer outcomes at 1 year. Therapist styles did not differ in overall impact on drinking, but a single therapist behavior was predictive (r = .65) of 1-year outcome such that the more the therapist confronted, the more the client drank.