Change 103: Contemplation Stage

Last week, the Precontemplation Stage was introduced. Although people sometimes do not move linearly through stages, the next identifiable stage is called the Contemplation Stage. As the name implies, people in this stage are willing to explore the idea of change. 

Contemplators

The following is a list of characteristics of someone who is in the contemplation stage: 

  • on-the-fence about change
  • can see the consequences of their behavior 
  • not considering change within the next month 
  • thinking about the pros and cons of change 
  • more open to receiving information about their bad habit 

People can stay in this stage anywhere from a few weeks to as long as a lifetime. 

What Can We Do? 

To actually achieve change, contemplators can do more and their families and friends can intervene a little in this stage. 

  • Validate the fact that the contemplator is not yet ready for change. 
    • "I understand that you are not reading to quit smoking yet."
  • Clarify that the decision is theirs to make. 
    • "The decision to quit is entirely yours, and I hope you do not feel that I am telling you what to do."
  • Encourage the exploration of pros and cons of the behavior. 
    • "What are some good things about smoking? What are some bad things?"
  • Identify positive outcomes of a change.
    • "What are some good things that will happen if you quit?" 

As a contemplator, find someone that you can talk to who makes you feel accepted and not judged. Explore the pros and cons of changing the behavior at question with them. 

DO YOU KNOW A CONTEMPLATOR? ARE YOU A CONTEMPLATOR? WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR? 

 

Resouces: 

AddictionInfo.org's Stages of Change Model 

Prochaska, JO. & DiClemente, CC. (2005). The transtheoretical approach. In: Norcross, JC; Goldfried, MR. (eds.) Handbook of psychotherapy integration. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 147–171. ISBN 0-19-516579-9.

StepupProgram.org's Stages of Change Worksheet