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Prochaska DiClemente Stages

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The Prochaska DiClemente Stages are named after the founders of the stages of change model. Specifically, this model outlines the five stages of change that people experience upon making a conscious decision to change. In substance use disorder treatment, the Prochaska DiClemente Stages have become central to relapse prevention.

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The Prochaska DiClemente Stages offer a model for analyzing human behavioral change over time. The stages were first developed in 1977 by psychologists James O. Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente and called the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). Specifically, the Prochaska DiClemente’s stages of change are a theoretical model of how a person decides to change. Therefore, the Transtheoretical Model of the stages of intentional change provides insight into successful decision-making.

The Prochaska DiClemente stages of change model evolved in a study of smokers who quit on their own, as opposed to smokers who required further treatment. The five stages of change are defined as precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The sixth stage of change, adopted later, is defined as either relapse or termination. Thus, relapse or termination is less frequently used in the application of the stages of change model for health-related behaviors.

In the Prochaska DiClemente Stages, the therapist offers specific intervention strategies to move a person through each of the five stages of change. The ultimate goal is to achieve ongoing maintenance, the ideal stage of behavioral change. In teen substance abuse treatment, this translates as long-term sobriety.

Sources: Pro-Change Behavior SystemsOxford AcademicBoston University School of Public Health