Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version

Action as a Stage of Change in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Carlo C. DiClementeAffiliated withUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County Email author 
  • , Alicia E. WiprovnickAffiliated withUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County


Adherence; Coping activities; Engagement; Plan implementation; Taking action

Overview and Theoretical Context

Stages of Change represent a series of steps and tasks that assist in understanding the multidimensional nature of intentional behavior change. According to the transtheoretical model (TTM), the process begins with an individual in precontemplation and currently not considering change through contemplation (decision making), preparation (planning and committing), and action (making the change and revising the plan) to reach maintenance where the new behavior is sustained and integrated into one’s life (Prochaska and DiClemente 1984). When individuals in couples and family therapy need to make a change in personal or interpersonal behaviors, the stages can be helpful for understanding their readiness and motivation (Prochaska et al. 1994). Thus, assessing stage status enables therapists to match their approaches to meet the needs of clients in different stages of change (s ...

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