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What are the stages of change?

Posted Sep 30 2012 2:42pm

How do people really change?

The stages of change model comes originally from a book titled “Changing For Good” by Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente.

This model has been widely applied to substance abuse treatment but is also applicable to mental health, weight loss or even improving test scores in underperforming schools.

We teach this model to beginning students in Substance abuse counseling programs and it is gradually becoming a part of Professional Clinical Counseling and Marriage and family Therapy training.

It is helpful for professionals to understand how it is that people change so we don’t get ahead of or behind our clients in the process of change. This model also helps predict the possibility of relapse and is applied to relapse prevention.

The Stages of Change model is not just for professionals. It is included in the Mental Health First Aid program and is now being taught to clients and consumers.  

Below are the lings to a series of post I wrote on the stages of change. This is my explanation of the model and some additional insights from Ken Minkhoff at Zia Partners and my fellow Change Agents.

My apologies to Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente if I have in any way distorted their model. For their version read the book. See also materials on Stages of Change at the SAMHSA web site.

Stages of Change or How Do We Change Pre-Contemplation

Stages of Change part two – Contemplation

How do People Change? Preparation

Stages of Change – Early Action

Stages of Change – Late Action

Maintenance is a Part of Change

Related posts are at”

Is Relapse a Part of Recovery?

Four Stages of Recovery

Getting some recovery – preventing relapse

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page . For information about my other writing work beyond this blog there is also a Facebook authors page, in its infancy, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at . Thanks to all who read this blog.

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