Psychological Solutions For A Better Life

A Model Of Change

Normal_change0 Many people want to make changes in their lives. Change can have many faces, but no matter what change people aim for, it's always a difficult process. Whether you want to loose weight, stop smoking, exercise regularly, stop eating sugar, or leave a relationship changing is always much more difficult than people anticipate. 

Often people get angry with themselves for not sticking with 'the programme' or they suffer criticism or 'friendly' teasing from friends and family members who can't understand that the person won't stick with their decision.

I thought the following stage model of change from Prochaska and DiClemente  might be a useful piece of information to help people in their process of Change. My advice: don't be too hard on yourself. Change is a process that often goes back and forth. It may have distinct stages, but don't expect to manage them in a clear line. As always: Self-compassion goes a long way.

Stage of Change

Characteristics

How can you help and encourage the person ?

Pre-contemplation

Not
currently considering change: "Ignorance is bliss"

Validate
lack of readiness

Clarify:
decision is theirs

Encourage
re-evaluation of current behavior

Encourage
self-exploration, not action

Explain
and personalize the risk of not changing

Contemplation

Ambivalent
about change: "Sitting on the fence"

Not
considering change within the next month but getting emotionally ready to implement change

Validate
lack of readiness

Clarify:
decision is theirs

Encourage
person to look at the pros and cons of behavior change

Identify
and promote new, positive outcome expectations that will come with change

Preparation

Person has some
experience with change and is trying to change:

"Testing the
waters"  – preparation could be f.e. looking up information, saving money,

Planning
to act within 1month

Identify
and assist in problem solving re: obstacles

Help
patient identify social support

Verify
that patient has underlying skills for behavior change

Encourage
small initial steps

Action

Change has been made and new behavior needs to be practiced. This takes about 3-6 months.

People need a lot of support and encouragement in this phase.


 

Focus
on restructuring cues and social support

Bolster
self-efficacy for dealing with obstacles

Combat
feelings of loss and reiterate long-term benefits

Maintenance

Continued
commitment to sustaining new behavior

Post-6
months to 5 years

Plan
for follow-up support

Reinforce
internal rewards i.e. feeling better, more self-confidence etc.

Discuss
coping with relapse

Relapse

Resumption
of old behaviors: "Fall from grace"

Evaluate
trigger for relapse

Reassess
motivation and barriers

Plan
stronger coping strategies

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