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© 2022 The Verywell Mind Podcast with Amy Morin
173 - Friday Fix: The 6 Stages of Change
The Verywell Mind Podcast with Amy Morin
Welcome to the very well, mine podcast. I met me, more in the editor-in-chief of verywellmind. I'm also a psychotherapist and a best-selling author of four books. On mental strength, you're listening through Friday. Every Friday, I share a quick mental strength strategy that can help fix the thoughts, feelings and actions. That could hold you back in life. And the fun part is we've record the show from a sailboat in the Florida Keys. Now, it's diving today's episode.
Today I'm talking about stages of change. It's an important concept that therapist consider when providing treatment.
Change doesn't happen meet Lee really don't sit in one stage for a specific. Of time before moving to the next. It's usually a lot messier than that. You might move back and forth between two stages for years you might attempt to skip one stage. Only to find that you end up going back to it later or you might find that your progress is often two steps forward and one step back.
Identifying what stage are in can help you decide what action, if any to take next. I can also help you better understand yourself and your decisions.
It may also help you and your relationships with other people. Whether you have an adult child who says, they want to change their spending habits but just don't do it. Or you have a partner who struggles to stick to their goals, knowing what stage of change someone else is in, can help, you know how to support them. Sometimes, we assume people are ready to take action when they aren't and it leaves everyone feeling frustrated when things don't go smoothly.
If however you recognize the stage of change someone is in, you'll be better equipped to support them right where they are.
So before I run through the stages of change, take a minute and think about a change that you thought about making in your life or one that you're already working on.
It could be a habit that you want to change. Like you want to exercise more often or you want to quit smoking or it might involve making a change in your life like changing jobs.
Okay, so hopefully you have some kind of changed that you've considered making in mind. Now, as I talk about these six stages and about which stage you're likely in
Number one precontemplation. This is when you think that you don't have a problem but other people probably tell you that they have concerns about you.
Sometimes people come into my therapy office, because they're mandated by the legal system or some other entity to get counseling, maybe anger management or maybe substance abuse treatment.
Despite other people's concerns and the piles of evidence that might point to the fact that they have a problem. Pre contemplative. People insist that they don't have an issue.
Sometimes, o'prey contemplative people come to therapy because they want to make someone else happy. They might ask me to reassure their partner that there's nothing wrong with them, or they might say, their doctor recommended therapy, and well, they don't think it's necessary, they want to make their doctor happy.
And this day's treatment focuses on asking questions about why other people might think they have a problem and how they'd know if they did have a problem?
It's not about me. Convincing them that they do have a problem. It's about just exploring why other people might be concerned.
I first is often a fair amount of the Nile. They might say they were framed or they're only two times they've ever tried drugs in their life and those just happen to be the two times they got arrested, but sometimes people are able to at least consider the possibility that they might have a problem.
Do you find yourself in this stage, spend some time thinking about why the other people might be concerned about you and be open to at least thinking a little bit about how creating change might be good for you.
State number to contemplation.
contemplation is a stage when you're thinking about, whether you might have a problem and whether you want to do something about it,
In this stage you might say stuff like I should really do something about my health, but I just don't have time right now you know a problem exists but can't yet. Imagine taking action.
There might even be days when you think. Yeah, I'm going to do this and then other days when you think now there's no way I can do this. You're just not ready to take action yet.
You might be doubting your ability to succeed or you might be questioning whether you need to actually take action.
And you might find that there are still moments when you're in denial, you might think. I don't know. My cholesterol was only High because I ate a lot the day before they took the test or I don't actually need to drink less. There are lots of people who drink a lot more than I do.
When people come into my therapy office and they're contemplative, we spend time talking about the benefits, they'll get if they do make change as well as the consequence, they're likely to experience if they don't make a change.
Sometimes this moves, the motivation, needle enough for someone to decide, okay? I do want to try to make a change in my life.
At other times, we explore the fears that keep someone stuck. Like what if I try my hardest and I don't succeed or what if it's too uncomfortable?
Or what is this change? Makes my life worse.
We also talked about emotions and how those feelings affect their decision-making. During the times, when you feel happy, you might be motivated and confident to do something different. But the second you become Saturday, anxious, you might be filled with self-doubt.
Sometimes I do after talking about these things for a bit, people decide to move into the next stage.
If you think that you're contemplative, write down a list of all the benefits, you might gain from creating change, as well as all the consequences you might experience. If you don't change
Dave's number 3, preparation.
Preparation is a stage that people sometimes try to skip. They dive straight into taking action without creating a good plan first. And without a clear plan, their attempts to change might fail
This is one of the reasons why so many New Year's resolutions. Don't last people say they're going to change on December 31st but they don't really spend any time thinking about how they'll make that change stick.
The preparation stage is critical. If you want your change to last over the Long Haul.
People who come into therapy in the preparation stage, might say things. Like, I know what I want to do, I'm just not sure what steps to take first.
Or they might be looking for some guidance on what course of action they should take. They might ask whether the best way to quit, smoking is to go cold turkey, attend a support group chew nicotine gum, take a medication or do something else.
To help someone in this stage, we usually review the options so they can make an informed decision. Then we talked about the steps they're going to take
Some changes are gradual shift, like, cutting down on the number of drinks per day. Other people want to make a major shift. Like they might stop drinking altogether,
Someone who's going to make a change? Will benefit from planning ahead, answering questions. Like what action step will you take to make this happen? And what obstacles do you expect? You'll encounter can help someone gain confidence in their ability to make the change and that can moves into the next stage.
If you're in the preparation stage, this is the time to do your research. Learn about what strategies you want to try. You might talk to other people who made a similar change and find out how they did it. Or you might want to look ahead and see what obstacles are likely to encounter. Or you might want to reflect on what hasn't worked in the past so you can move forward with more knowledge than before.
Stage number for Action. This is the stage when you're actually taking steps toward your goal.
Someone who's in the stage might come into my therapy office saying something. Like I lost 30 of the 50 lb, my doctor suggested already. I want help figuring out what else to do or they might say I'm planning on tackling my debt next week and I want some support while I do it. I cut back on my online shopping already but need to make some more changes in my life.
and this stage, we often figure out whatever the additional steps that you might try or some other changes might try to make
If you're in the stage, might experiment with different strategies. For example, you might try working out in the morning one week and then in the afternoon another week, to see if there's a time that works better for you than another, or you might cut back on sweets for a bit and then decide to start adding in Daily walk to your routine.
Once you're consistently taking action, you might move to the next stage. Stage number five maintenance,
It's so secret that people can often make a change for the short-term, but struggle to maintain those results, over the long-term take weight loss, her example, the vast majority of people who lose weight gain it back. That's where the maintenance stage comes in. This is all about maintaining those changes in your life for the Long Haul.
Like how are you going to maintain your sobriety after you get out of rehab? Or are you going to stick to your debt reduction plan on the holidays are just around the corner?
This day is all about figuring out how to make the changes last, even when life gets stressful, when your support system changes or when you encounter obstacles.
Beige number 6 relapse.
We used to talk about the stages of change in terms of five stages. What the model has shifted over the years to include the sixth age,
There are few changes in life that you're ever going to make that a permanent without even a momentary. Lapse relapse, doesn't mean you failed. It just means you have an opportunity to learn and grow.
But someone who has relapsed might come to therapy saying, I just can't do it or I lost my motivation.
I relapsed might mean they've gained their way back. They stopped working out, if picked up smoking again or they've abandoned their self improvement, strategies.
Quite often when people relapse, they think they haven't made any progress. They're frustrated to think they have to start all over again.
So we often help them, see that they may have taken a step back but they aren't all the way back at the beginning. Hopefully, they've learned a lot along the way in a relapse is just another opportunity so they can move forward with more knowledge than before.
Anna Sarah P office. We might look at what went. Well were they started to struggle and whether they want to try again.
The rather than ask what led to your relapse, we sometimes, start by asking, how did you do so well for so long?
If the person decides to try again, we might move forward with a slightly different plan with new resources in place to support their efforts.
If you find that you relapse, just remember that progress, doesn't always come in a straight line, sometimes things feel a little worse before they get better.
So what those are the six stages of change precontemplation? Contemplation, preparation action, maintenance and relapse.
Understanding what stage are in and what you need to do to move to the next stage. Can help you work through the process and perhaps help you create lasting change.
Mister is struggling with creating change. You might appreciate episode 138 where we talked about indecisiveness with Dr. Miller and if you're having trouble making your changes stick check out episode 106 psychological tricks for lasting change with Dr. Katy milkman.
And if, you know someone who could benefit from hearing this message, share it with them, simply sharing a link to, this episode could help someone feel better and grow stronger.
Do you want free access to my online? Course? It's called 10 mental strength exercises, that will help you reach your greatest potential to get your free pass. We have to do is leave us a review on Apple podcasts, then send us a screenshot of your review. Our email address is podcast at verywell.com will reply with your all-access pass to the course.
Thank you for hanging out with me today. A listening to the verywellmind podcast and I was always a big thank you to my Show's producer who likes to change up the look of the podcast studio with his red decorations. Nick Valentine
Do you want to learn more strategies for building? Mental strength? Check out my International best-selling books and discover how to grow, mentally stronger, 13 things, mentally strong people don't do has sold more than a million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages. My other Works include 13, things mentally, strong parents, don't do 13 things, mentally, strong, women don't do and 13 things, strong kids do and stay tuned. Book number five is coming to a bookstore near you and 2023.
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