Alison Hunter Therapy
Counselling, Psychotherapy, Coaching in Glasgow Southside & Online

The stages of change

With change being so present in therapy, thinking about the stages of change and where a client may sit within it at any one time can be a helpful guide in therapy.

In his book, Changing for Good, James Prochaska outlines six stages of change. They are as follows:

Pre-contemplation (What problem? I don’t know what you’re talking about!) In which people don’t want to admit that they have a problem and even avoid any consideration of the subject. Some people stay in this stage of change for a long time and often experience growing problems. This difficult stage is often called “denial”.

Contemplation (I want to change . . but then, I don’t) Which is probably where you are if you have read this far. You may well have mixed emotions about either changing or doing nothing about the problem. Here you at least become aware of your problems, struggle to understand them and even may think seriously about solving them.

Preparation (I know I have to, but how?) Here is where you start to make decisions. While some people become chronic contemplators and substitute more and more analysis for action, others will make decisions and prepare for them. At this stage, your personal outlook will start to reach more toward your future and less toward your past.

Action(Now I’ve got the bull by the horns!) OK, this is where you take the plunge! But there is no “magic bullet”, and there is no easy way to change. At this point you are very much on your own. You need all the helping relationships you can get, but be prepared, you may even get some disapproval from others, and experience some anxiety and anger. Just review all the things you have established in your contemplation and preparation stages and stick to them.

Maintenance (Got to stay with it!) You have considered and planned and decided to change your life and leave part of it behind. Yet it can be really difficult to stick with the changes you have made. Therefore this stage needs plans and goals like all the others, you treat lapsing back into familiar patterns as just a temporary delay in forward progress and something that you can learn from. And you have the anchor of all your well-planned contemplation and preparation to rely on.

Termination One day you will be able to look back and feel really good about your courage and determination in making the changes in your life.

My Location

My counselling, psychotherapy and coaching practice in based in the Southside of Glasgow. It is within easy reach of Shawlands, Pollokshields, Giffnock, Newton Mearns and the city centre.

I work with clients both face-to-face and online. Please contact me to discuss what may work best for you.


Counselling and psychotherapy are talking therapies that can help just about everyone, regardless of age, race and gender.
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“I approached the counselling process with a certain level of trepidation and anxiety. However Alison was able to be supportive and reassuring, creating a safe environment. The sessions were undertaken at a pace I felt comfortable with and it was clear Alison was able to respond to my individual situation which was multifaceted. I found the process helpful and beneficial.I would be more than comfortable approaching Alison in the future should the need arise.” Anonymous, Glasgow