Understanding the Five Stages of Change
Motivational interviewing stems from the belief that change happens over five distinct stages. These stages are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. MI helps clients get from one stage to the next, see the need for change, and have the desire to push forward to the next stage.
Pre-contemplation is the very first stage for many clients. Either clients are unaware that they have an eating disorder, or they understand the diagnosis but don’t have any desire to change. The next stage is contemplation. At this point, clients might be seriously thinking about making a change, but they won’t have completed anything concrete just yet.
It’s at this point MI can be incredibly helpful. It can encourage clients to see what specific changes they need to make. This helps them move to stage three, preparation, which consists of inconsistent action.
From there, clients can move to action. This often happens in a recovery program, and it is when clients make steady, effective, and consistent changes that work toward better health. Finally, clients can reach maintenance, where they work to avoid relapse and maintain their health.