Source for picture: EngenderHealth (2005)
Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the early summer that we are having. I pulled this picture off of a fitness website. I thought it was very telling of the stages of change. As we all know, change is hard. Whether it is trying to reduce or abstain from substance use or if you are trying to loose weight to look good in a swimsuit for summer!
The stages of change help define where we are at in our change. Let's briefly review the stages:
Precontemplation- no recognition of a problem thus no consideration of change. People may become defensive or angry when others point out the need of change.
Contemplation-people are considering that possibly a problem exists. They may start to see negative consequence of behavior and think about needing to change. They may evaluate the pros and cons of changing, but are ambivalent or unsure if they are going to commit to change
Determination/preparation-change is coming! The person has decided to change. The person maybe be creating a plan, gathering information, and talking to family/friends about the change.
Action-Recognize, believe, change. The person recognizes the problem, believs they can change, and begin to change. They are generally open to receiving help and will likely seek support from others.
Maintenance-You've made it! The person has made the significant change and they pracice their new skills to maintain the change. All the time they are anticipating speedbumps and planning for them. They are proactive in their approrach and have maintained the change for a period of time (6 months).
Relapse-People return to old behavior for a brief or extended period of time. The goal is to return to the change system as quickly as possible.
A couple of things to remember. People can move up or down on the stages of change, it is very fluid and "life happens" meaning sometimes we have setbacks and we move backwards. The important thing is that we get back on track as soon as possible and learn from those setbacks. The skills that you learn in CBT can help with increasing your motivation in changing and making progress once you have started the change. Let's look at an example. What stage of change is he in?
Jake has noticed that his pants have been fitting tighter, and he has had to go up a notch when he puts on his belt. He thought about the last few months and realized that he had been eating more junk food than usual. Jake goes back and forth with himself about whether or not he wants to go on a diet and start working out. He knows that gaining weight is unhealthy, but does not want to sacrifice his mornings or afternoons to work out. Jake decides he will make an appointment with his doctor to determine if he is at an unhealthy weight; he would like to get more information about how healthy he is before making a decision.
Post your responses and I'll post the answer and a couple more examples later this week. Thanks for checking in!!!
Corey Campbell is a clinician/trainer with the Human Service Center of Peoria, IL. All thoughts on this blog are representative of only Corey and do not reflect the Human Service Center.