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Stages of Change Theory

Stages of Change Theory

The Stages of Change Theory is a central part of Transtheoretical Model (TTM), a process used in counseling and behavior change. The stages of change theory states that human beings will transition through a series of stages as they seek to modify behavior. There are five stages of change, pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Since this is dealing with human behavior, there is no set time limit that a person spends in any one particular stage.

The pre-contemplation stage of change theory is when a person is unready or unwilling to make some change. People may simply not have enough information about either the change they wish to make or the ways in which to change behavior. The contemplation stage is when an individual expresses a desire to change within the next six months or so. A person is weighing the pros and cons at this stage. This is followed by the preparation stage, in which immediate action is imminent. At this point, a person may have a plan of action.

Stages of Change theory states that when a person is in the action stage, they have made modifications to their behavior. Finally, a person may be able to move into the maintenance stage, in which they actively seek to prevent relapse into the previous behavior patterns. Finally, mastery of the stages of change theory leaves a person in the termination phase, when they have achieved one hundred percent self-efficacy.

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