Monthly Pathway on Stages of Change a “Dramatic” Success

On October 19, Frank Bartolomeo, PhD was the guest speaker at our Monthly Pathway Session at St. Mark’s Church. We had over 25 attendees, including both parents and local recovery coaches. During the session, Frank used role playing to give insights into how a loved one can move from a particular stage in the Stages of Change Model, to another.

As background, there are 5 Stages in the Model:

Precontemplation – In this stage, people do not intend to take action in the foreseeable future
Contemplation – Even with this recognition, people may still feel ambivalent toward changing their behavior.
Preparation (Determination) – In this stage, people are ready to take action within the next 30 days.
Action – In this stage, people have recently changed their behavior and intend to keep moving forward.
Maintenance – Change never ends with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be relapse, usually to precontemplation or contemplation stage.

Frank used the example of a 17-year old female client who had no intention of maintaining sobriety following inpatient treatment. During her sessions with him, the teen was exposed to seeing herself in future time periods through role play. This was enough to shift her mindset from resuming her use of substances to abstention following her treatment program.

The best way to view Stages of Change, according to Frank, is that of a spiral of progress that can go either up or down. Relapses and steps backwardaare part of the process. However, with help from clinicians and other professionals, looking at addiction recovery through the Stages of Change lens can be very rewarding.