As a therapist in Chestnut Hill and Montgomery County, I get asked about the process of change as it pertains to someone’s own experience or their hope or desire to see a loved one commit to change a less than helpful behavior, pattern, or attitude like managing stress, anger, or dealing with any type of addictive behavior or relationship problems.
Take note of the following concepts and suggestions related to The Stages of Change Model. This is recognized as a well-researched theory of change developed byJames Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente from the University of Rhode Island. According to this theory, there are five stages of change encompassing different points of readiness for taking steps toward addressing the problem. What stage of change readiness are you or your famiy member in now?
1) Pre-contemplation, the first stage of change readiness, is when you may
have no desire or intention to change, at least not now. In fact, you may not
believe you have a problem or if you do think there is a problem, perhaps you
see it a result of other people’s actions. For example, ‘I could stop smoking
if my boss wasn’t so difficult”.
2. Contemplation, the second stage, when you might begin to think about the
need to change. Lack of action and procrastination are common during this stage
as you may debate in your own head as to whether or not the problem is serious
enough to do something about it. “It’s not that bad”.
3. Preparation is the third stage of change occurs when you may be starting
to plan on taking action some time soon. You may be reviewing options. Perhaps
you are looking for a therapist or counselor or conducting internet searches
about the issues while exploring what resources are available to help you.
4. Action is the fourth stage. You‘ve made the decision to change and have
begun to do something about the problem. You may be attending counseling or a
support group and are learning new tools and strategies to manage or regulate
5. Maintenance phase represents the period where you’ve been working an
action plan and are effectively dealing with challenges, setbacks, and
continuing forward progress while staying away from the initial troubling behavior.
Next blog, learn tips that work in each stage as you move toward an upward rather than downward spiral.
Deb Owens is a Licensed Counselor and Therapist in Chestnut Hill and Lower Gwynedd, PA . She works with adults and couples to learn to “live & love well”.