It can be disappointing to hear a loved one say they will seek help, and then you witness no change. We want the best for our loved ones, and it becomes a stressful situation when we cannot control whether they actively seek help or not. If your loved one has spoken to you about seeking help but has done nothing to prove they are serious, they could be in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage. Researchers C. DiClemente and J. Prochaska developed a five-stage of model of change to help professionals understand what motivates people to make a change. The 5 stages are:
- Precontemplation – During this stage, the person is not interested in changing and they are not seeking any kind of help towards making a change. They often will not discuss their habit with others, and they do not yet consider that they may have a problem.
- Contemplation – The person has considered the consequences of their habit, but they are weighing the pros and cons because they still feel uncertain about what to do. They may be more open to receiving information on their habit but have not yet made a decision as to what to do about it. Researchers say a person can spend their entire lifetime in this stage.
- Determination – In this stage, a person has made the choice to make a change. They may ask themselves, “What can I do?” They are now taking small steps towards quitting their habit and may also be calling a lot of clinics for information.
- Action – This is where the person believes they have the ability to change their behavior and employ more actively techniques to help them stop their habit. An individual may use short-term rewards to help keep them motivated, or they may seek support from others.
- Maintenance – This occurs when a person has been able to successfully avoid any temptations that could have led them to the return of their habit. A person is able to anticipate the situations that could potentially tempt them, and can utilize techniques they’ve learned to overcome these situations.
Change is difficult, but it can happen if a person works hard enough for it. Utilize this information to determine what stage your loved one is in. If they are in the pre-contemplation stage, an intervention may be a good option. If your loved one is ready for help, make sure they reach out to a reputable treatment center that provides a variety of options to best meet their needs.
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