1.1.1 The Stages of Change

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If you are looking at entering some form of treatment for your addiction(s) then you are looking at making some fairly big changes in your life? Recovery from addiction requires considerable effort on your part but the results will be well worth it. In this module we are going to be looking at how people change.

In the field of counselling psychology, it is widely accepted that change is a process rather than an event. In particular, the ‘Stages of Change’ model (Prochaska & Di Clemente, 1983)1 states that people move through distinct stages when they are in the process of changing a behavior. While the amount of time it takes to move through these stages might differ from individual to individual, the actual things they have to do are exactly the same. Every single person who wishes to change a behavior, must first become aware of their issue, then make preparations to change, then take actions to change, and then maintain those actions (see fig. 1 below).