First Stage of Change - Pre-thinking

By: Dr. Neil Stafford Posted On Jun 09, 2017

The first stage of change is pre-contemplation, or another way to say it is pre-thinking. This is the stage where others around the person notice the need for change, but the person doesn't see a need to change. This is where their partner says "you're eating too much ice cream," and they respond by saying "my only problem is you saying I eat too much." The person is not recognizing the problem. They don't see a need to change. They are in the pre-thinking stage.

The real challenge is how we can motivate the pre-thinker into thinking. A direct challenge isn't going to work. They aren't ready to face their problem. Instead, start by asking questions around what do they want for themselves. Where do they want to go? How is what they're doing now help or hurt progress to the goal? Help them come to the conclusion on their own (in a positive and accepting way) how their current behavior isn't helping. Getting them their is helping them into the next stage, the contemplation or thinking stage.

TAGS: Transtheoretical Model (TTM Or "Stages Of Change"), Mindfulness, Goal Achievement
About the Author
Dr. Stafford is a clinical psychologist with 11 years experience. His primary experience is with children and families in private practice, and 10 years in the Avondale Elementary School District. Dr. Stafford has earned certification in school psychology, and is the training director for an internship program for school psychologist. Beyond these activities, Dr. Stafford works with adults in his private practice on a broad range of issues including depression and anxiety. He also has interests in the integration of faith and psychology as well as the development of the individual through interpersonal neurobiology.

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