November 5, 2011

Transtheoretical Model of Change

Developed by James O. Prochaska at the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues in 1977. From what I can tell, it was first used with smoking cessation, and later used with other behaviors viewed as negative, and now it can be applied to many areas where a person might want to change things in their life.

What is the Transtheoretical Model of Change?

It is a way to outline how ready a person is to end a negative behavior in their lives.

  • Precontemplation – a stage where people are not planning on taking action to change things in their lives. Generally people are not aware that their behavior is a problem
    • Personal: I don’t know that I have been in this stage, I think for the most part I knew from the beginning that what I was doing was not ok, hence trying to hide it from the very beginning, however I wasn’t planning on taking any steps to change my actions.

  • Contemplation – a stage when people are sort of beginning to recognize that they have a problem, and that they need to change their behavior. The look at the pros and cons of continuing their behavior.
    • Precontemplation to contemplation.
      • Increasing knowledge about self and problem
      • Beginning to express feelings about your problem
      • Thinking about how your behavior impacts yourself and those around you
    • I think that this stage for me was when I was a sophomore in high school, or year 10. I was realizing that I had an issue and considering the possibility of change.

  • Preparation – a stage where people begin to have an intention to take action soon. May make some small steps.
    • Contemplation to Preparation
      • Thinking about yourself with regards to the behavior.
    • This was probably also during year 10. I made personal steps and sought out help from people who also struggled with self-harm via the internet.

  • Action – a stage where you make obvious changes in your life and positive change is visible.
    • Preparation to action
      • Thinking about freeing yourself from your behavior
      • Committing yourself to taking action steps
    • This was probably the summer after my sophomore year when I first made a step to ask for help with what I was doing. I talked to a youth leader and was not able to tell her everything, but I was seeking out help on a greater level than before.
    • I might still be in this stage, or between this stage and the next.

  • Maintenance – a stage where people are working on keeping from relapsing. A person could be in this stage for the rest of their lives.
    • Action to maintenance
      • Substituting thoughts, activities, places, people and things that could influence you to use the old behavior with new things
      • Having someone who can help keep you accountable
      • Remembering the positive benefits of change
    • I could be considered to be in this stage, but not always, because I have relapsed in the recent past, but I am also working towards not relapsing again.

  • Termination – This is a stage that some people add on to the model, where a person is no longer tempted to go back to their old behaviors. They are completely sure that they will not go back to their old way of coping.
    • I am not sure how this stage fits in to my life. I would love it if I could be here someday, but a large part of me wonders if this is even possible for me.

  • Relapse – some people also include relapse as a part of this model, it is not considered a “stage” but rather what happens when someone moves back to a previous stage.

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