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Counseling Stages of Change Model

As a Philadelphia area counselor, I'd like to share with you the concepts and suggestions related to The Stages of Change Model. This is recognized as a well-researched theory of change developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente from the University of Rhode Island. According to this theory, there are six stages of change encompassing different points of readiness for taking steps toward addressing the problem. What stage of counseling change readiness are you in now? What you can do to increase your chances of success?

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. “I’m 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 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 your behavior.

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 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 Certified Addiction Counselor Chestnut Hill and Lower Gwynedd, PA