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What is Stages of Change?

A therapeutic process in which the recovery of the patient is monitored and judged in accordance with a set of predetermined steps that recovering individuals are expected to go through during their transition from a mental disorder to mental stability.

The Five Stages of Change

The Department of Health defines the five stages of this process as:

The five stages of change
People in this stage are not thinking seriously about changing and tend to defend their current AOD use patterns. May not see their use as a problem. The positives or benefits, of the behaviour outweigh any costs or adverse consequences so they are happy to continue using.

People in this stage are able to consider the possibility of quitting or reducing AOD use but feel ambivalent about taking the next step. On the one hand AOD use is enjoyable, exciting and a pleasurable activity. On the other hand, they are starting to experience some adverse consequences (which may include personal, psychological, physical, legal, social or family problems).

Have usually made a recent attempt to change using behaviour in the last year. Sees the ‘cons’ of continuing as outweighing the ‘pros’ and they are less ambivalent about taking the next step. They are usually taking some small steps towards changing behaviour. They believe that change is necessary and that the time for change is imminent. Equally, some people at this stage decide not to do anything about their behaviour.

Actively involved in taking steps to change their using behaviour and making great steps towards significant change. Ambivalence is still very likely at this stage. May try several different techniques and are also at greatest risk of relapse.

Able to successfully avoid any temptations to return to using behaviour. Have learned to anticipate and handle temptations to use and are able to employ new ways of coping. Can have a temporary slip, but don’t tend to see this as failure.

The mere submission of this information is for educational purposes only. However, it is not designed to imply that utilizing such information on your own will successfully solve a problem that you have.