At Peace

My Lifetime Stories in blog

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Stages of change

When i was doing my GP attachment, there was one slot dedicated on how to help patients to change their behaviour, like smoking. I was really interested in its steps... and it can be used nearly to change everything (religion perhaps?).

In 1983, two researchers called Prochaska and DiClementi introduced the Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change (TTM). The TTM very simply describes how people go about changing their health or lifestyle behaviours by defining five 'stages of change'. The TTM suggests that, for people to make positive change, they must go through a process of increasing their readiness to change. In other words, before a new behaviour or action can occur, the individual must have the right attitudes and beliefs to embrace it. Each of the five 'stages of change' depicts a distinct level of attitude and action for behaviour change.

Those steps are:
1. Pre-contemplation stage
2. Contemplation stage
3. Preparation stage
4. Action stage
5. Maintanance stage

In each of these steps, there are certain set of questions or issues that we need to address. For example, in introducing a religion of Islam to somebody:

1. Pre-contemplation stage:
That person doesn't even know what Islam is. All his view was similar with that portrayed by the media. So we ask him, "what do you know about Islam?" and let him do the talk. Well, worse come to worst, he will tell everything bad about Islam... and we'll say, "It can be that bad. In fact, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. There must be something good about it." At this pre-contemplation stage, it is important not to impose our view to the person. Let it be neutral for him.

2. Contemplation stage:
This is the stage where he has some interest/knowledge about Islam, but not yet convince of its perfection. Probably this stage will take a long time before moving to the next stage: preparation. The discussion must go on regarding Islam. The objective is to make him think (once in a while) that probably, Islam IS the true religion after all.

3. Preparation stage:
This is the stage where we make the call to embrace Islam to the person. If the person agrees, then the preparation to become a muslim need to be done, such as learning how to pray, meeting other new muslims etc. A date need to be chosen for a complete change, a revert muslim.

4. Action stage:
The time when the person embrace Islam.

5. Maintanance stage:
This stage is very important, if not the most important. People usually leave this step, thinking that everything is ok after the action stage. In this maintanance stage, it is important to continue discussion on Islam, especially questions that comes to the person's mind. Any doubts need to be addressed... and answered. His current condition need to be checked, and all the helps should be given.

Of course, this is just my tiny little idea, adjusted to suit the transtheoretical model of behaviour change (TTM), which is definitely not prefect. Verily, we need His help, but not otherwise.


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