The 5 Stages of Change

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

Change is a gradual process. For that reason, scientists and psychologists have broken it down into 5 different stages. Each stage of change summons different clinical skills from medical providers. It is important medical professionals learn these 5 stages so that they can better serve their patients.


1. Pre-contemplation

At this point the patient has no intention of changing. Sometimes they are even unaware of the need to change. The best thing to do during this stage is promote self-awareness. Talk about the risks of unhealthy habits, and the benefits of lifestyle change.


2. Contemplation

The patient is aware of a need to change. Furthermore, they have expressed interest in changing within the next 6 months. During this stage its best to resolve ambivalence. Talk through all the mixed feelings about change that the patient might have. Explore the pros and cons of the treatment plan with the patient as well. Assess their knowledge about the treatment plan.


3. Preparation