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The Stages of Change

Positive change is something that many of us crave. However, change is something that can be both uncomfortable and scary, especially when we are comfortable or set in certain ways. We can become comfortable even in situations that are toxic and unhealthy for us. There are different stages in our change process, and in therapy we take a look at this through Prochaska & DiClemente's Transtheoretical Model a.k.a. The Stages of Change. This model is mostly used when treating substance misuse, however can be applied to many other situations too. Here is a breakdown of The Stages of Change model:

  1. Pre-contemplation: no intention to change behavior

  2. Contemplation: Awareness of problem existing but no commitment to taking action

  3. Preparation: Intention to create change is found

  4. Action: Action is taking to change behavior

  5. Maintenance: Sustained change is created and old behavior is replaced

  6. Relapse: Fall back into old pattern or behavior

When looking to create lasting change in your life, it would be important to ask yourself these questions:

  • What changes are you wanting to create in your life right now?

  • How would these changes benefit you?

  • Do you have the resources or knowledge to readily make this change in your life?

  • Is there anything that is preventing you from change?

  • What are things that might trigger you to make you return to your old ways?

  • How might you imagine your life being different from this change?

  • How might you imagine feeling after this change is created?

Whether it is substance misuse, wanting to create healthier habits, or exiting a toxic relationship, we are all worthy of creating the change that we desire or want to be. When exploring change for yourself, it is important to really lean into any motivating factors, your support system, and to allow yourself compassion in the process.

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