The Cycle of Change is a handout that social workers can use to assist their service users in understanding the process of change. It helps individuals assess which stage of change they are currently in and enables them to plan strategies to facilitate progress.
It describes the following stages of the model:
- Precontemplation: At this stage, the individual may not be aware that a problem exists or has no intention of changing their behavior.
- Contemplation: The person becomes aware of the problem and acknowledges the need for change, but has not yet made a commitment to take action.
- Preparation: The individual is motivated to take action and actively plans and prepares to address the problem. This stage often involves gaining buy-in and increased self-efficacy.
- Action: The person is actively engaged in modifying their behavior and implementing the changes they have planned.
- Maintenance: In this stage, sustained change occurs, and the new behavior replaces the old one. It is important to note that the maintenance stage is considered transitional, as the individual continues to work on sustaining the changes made.
- Relapse: Despite efforts to maintain the new behavior, the person may experience a setback and fall back into their old patterns of behavior.
- Upward Spiral: Each time a person goes through the cycle, they have the opportunity to learn from each relapse and grow stronger. With each iteration, the hope is that the relapses become shorter or less devastating, leading to continued progress and growth.
FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE CYCLE OF CHANGE HANDOUT