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Child Protection in Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau., Caliber Associates. Bragg, H. Lien.|
|Year Published: 2003|
Stages of Change
Individuals frequently differ in their state of readiness to change, and client readiness to change may fluctuate over time. Motivation is clearly linked to the degree of hope that change is possible. The degree to which clients are ready to change varies over time and is described in the pattern presented in the table below: precontemplation, contemplation, determination, action, and maintenance.
Since most children and families are involved with child protective services (CPS) involuntarily, they enter the CPS system at the precontemplation stage. This is true of the victims and the perpetrator more so than the children in cases where domestic violence is involved. By the end of the initial assessment or investigation phase, it is hoped that caseworkers will have moved victims and the offender to the contemplation stage or, even better, to the determination stage. It is essential for the victim to be at the determination stage when developing the service and safety plans. If those involved have not moved to that point, the likelihood of change is compromised.
|Stages of Change1|
Sees no need to change.
At this stage, the person has not even contemplated having a problem or needing to make a change. This is the stage where denial, minimization, blaming, and resistance are most commonly present.
Provide information and feedback to raise the client's awareness of the problem and the possibility of change. Do not give prescriptive advice.
Considers change, but also rejects it.
At this stage, there is some awareness that a problem exists. This stage is characterized by ambivalence; the person wants to change, but also does not want to. They will go back and forth between reasons for concern and justification for unconcern. This is the stage where clients feel stuck.
Help the client tip the balance in favor of change. Help the client see the benefits of changing and the consequences of not changing.
Wants to do something about the problem.
At this stage, there is a window of opportunity for change: the person has decided to change and needs realistic and achievable steps to change.
Help the client find a change strategy that is realistic, acceptable, accessible, appropriate, and effective.
Takes steps to change.
At this stage, the person engages in specific actions to bring about change. The goal during this stage is to produce change in a particular area or areas.
Support and be an advocate for the client. Help accomplish the steps for change.
Maintains goal achievement.
Making the change does not guarantee that the change will be maintained. The challenge during this stage is to sustain change accomplished by previous action and to prevent relapse. Maintaining change often may require a different set of skills than making the change.
Help the client identify the possibility of relapse and identify and use strategies to prevent relapse.
1 Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 19, 276-288. back
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