Webb Therapy Uncategorized The stages of change model

The stages of change model

‘The stages of change model’ was developed by Prochaska and DiClemente. Heard of them? It informs the development of brief and ongoing intervention strategies by providing a framework for what interventions/strategies are useful for particular individuals. Practitioners need an understanding of which ‘stage of change’ a person is in so that the most appropriate strategy for the individual client is selected.

There are five common stages within the Stages of Change model and a 6th known as “relapse”:

1. In the precontemplation stage, the person is either unaware of a problem that needs to be addressed OR aware of it but unwilling to change the problematic behaviour [or a behaviour they want to change. It does not always have to be labelled as “problematic”].

2. This is followed by a contemplation stage, characterized by ambivalence regarding the problem behaviour and in which the advantages and disadvantages of the behaviour, and of changing it, are evaluated, leading in many cases to decision-making.

3. In the preparation stage, a resolution to change is made, accompanied by a commitment to a plan of action. It is not uncommon for an individual to return to the contemplation stage or stay in the preparation stage for a while, for many reasons.

4. This plan is executed in the action stage, in which the individual engages in activities designed to bring change about and in coping with difficulties that arise.

5. If successful action is sustained, the person moves to the maintenance stage, in which an effort is made to consolidate the changes that have been made. Once these changes have been integrated into the lifestyle, the individual exits from the stages of change.

6. Relapse, however, is common, and it may take several journeys around the cycle of change, known as “recycling”, before change becomes permanent i.e., a lifestyle change; a sustainable change.

(Adapted from Heather & Honekopp, 2017)

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The Psychology of Gossiping – in a snapshotThe Psychology of Gossiping – in a snapshot

Gossiping is a universal social behaviour that involves the giving and receiving of information about others, generally perceived as having a negative effect on social groups and it is commonly sensationalistic in manner. The psychology of gossiping encompasses various aspects of human behaviour, including social interaction, communication, and interpersonal relationships.

Gossiping serves several psychological functions, such as forming and maintaining social bonds, establishing group norms, and conveying social information. Understanding the psychology of gossiping requires an examination of the underlying motivations, cognitive processes, and social dynamics involved in this behaviour.

One of the primary psychological functions of gossiping is its role in social bonding. According to evolutionary psychologists, gossiping may have evolved as a mechanism for monitoring and regulating social relationships within groups. By sharing information about others, individuals can establish and reinforce alliances, as well as identify potential threats or allies within their social networks. Gossiping also serves as a form of social currency, allowing individuals to exchange information and build rapport with others.

Furthermore, gossiping can be driven by intrinsic motivations related to curiosity and entertainment. People are naturally drawn to stories about others, particularly those involving conflict, romance, or scandal. This inclination toward sensationalistic narratives reflects the human tendency to seek novelty and emotional arousal through storytelling. From a psychological perspective, gossiping can be seen as a means of satisfying these innate cognitive and emotional needs.

In addition to its role in social bonding and entertainment, gossiping serves as a mechanism for transmitting social information and enforcing group norms. Through gossip, individuals communicate expectations and judgements regarding behaviour, values, and social roles within their communities. Gossip can function as a form of informal social control by publicly sanctioning or condemning certain behaviours, thereby influencing the conduct of group members.

The psychology of gossiping involves considerations of ethical and moral implications. While gossip can facilitate social cohesion and information sharing, it can also lead to negative consequences such as reputational damage, interpersonal conflict, disharmony, and breaches of privacy. Understanding the psychological mechanisms underlying gossiping can shed light on the ethical dilemmas associated with this behaviour and inform strategies for promoting responsible communication within social contexts.

Gossiping can indeed be malicious, as it involves spreading rumors or information about others that may be harmful, untrue, or damaging to their reputation. Malicious gossip can have serious consequences for the individuals involved, leading to damaged relationships, loss of trust, and even psychological harm. It is important to understand the impact of malicious gossip and the ethical considerations surrounding the spread of such information.

Malicious gossip is often driven by negative intentions, such as jealousy, resentment, or a desire to harm someone’s reputation. It can take various forms, including spreading false information about an individual’s personal life, career, or character. In some cases, malicious gossip may be used as a tool for bullying or manipulation, with the intent to undermine someone’s social standing or credibility.

The effects of malicious gossip can be far-reaching. It can lead to strained relationships, social ostracism, and damage to one’s professional reputation. In extreme cases, it can even result in legal action if the spread of false information causes tangible harm to an individual’s livelihood or well-being.

In summary, the psychology of gossiping encompasses various psychological functions, including its role in social bonding, entertainment, information transmission, and norm enforcement. By examining the underlying motivations, cognitive processes, and social dynamics involved in gossiping, researchers can gain insights into the complexities of human social behavior and interpersonal communication.


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Dunbar, R.I.M. “Gossip in Evolutionary Perspective.” Review of General Psychology (Print)

Foster E.K., & Campbell W.K. “The Psychology of Gossip: A Review.” Social Psychological Review (Print)

Kniffin K.M., & Wilson D.S. “Evolutionary Perspectives on Gossip.” Social Psychology Quarterly (Print)

Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., & Agatston, P. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. (Print)

Manning, J., & Levine, L. J. (2016). The psychology of social media: Why we like, share, comment and keep coming back. Routledge. (Print)

Robbins M.L., & Karan A. “Gossip: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology (Print)

Salmivalli, C., & Graham-Kevan, N. (Eds.). (2019). Intimate partner violence: New perspectives in research and practice. Routledge. (Print)

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Sommerfeld R.D., & Jordan J.J. “The Evolutionary Foundations of Gossip.” Biological Theory (Print)

Self-sabotage is self-sabotaging. Why would anyone do this?Self-sabotage is self-sabotaging. Why would anyone do this?

As I always like to say, there are as many reasons why people self-sabotage as there are people. A common theme is to protect the self from failure, feeling things we don’t want to feel, and to control our experiences.

One of the hidden culprits behind self-sabotage is the need for perfection and control. Self-sabotage has a strange way of helping us maintain the illusion that if only we had put in more effort or had better circumstances, everything would have worked out as it should. Social psychologists call this counter-intuitive strategy of regulating self-esteem ‘self-handicapping.’ It’s very seductive to engage in self-sabotage because the hidden payoff is high. It’s often easier to be a perfect whole rather than a real part. It’s a short-term solution that sidesteps the more arduous but ultimately more fulfilling work of individuation and self-realization. It takes risk, patience, suffering, and ultimately wisdom to come to the place where you can let go of self-sabotage and learn how to be real.

Behaviour is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotaging behaviors include procrastination, self-medication with alcohol and other drugs, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting.

Self-sabotage originates in the internal critic we all have, the side that has been internalized by the undermining and negative voices we’ve encountered in our lives. This critic and ‘internal sabotuer,’ functions to keep the person from risking being hurt, shamed, or traumatized in the ways they had been in the past. While it keeps the individual safe, it does so at a very high cost, foreclosing the possibility of new, creative, and three-dimensional experiences. Like an addiction, self-sabotage insidiously lulls and deludes us into thinking that it has the answer. In fact, it is the problem masquerading as the solution. Nothing stops self-sabotage faster in its tracks than shining this particular light on it. Consciousness is true power. We need to let go of our illusions of omnipotence and perfection and see that it is only when we are real and imperfect that we can create a true work of art. Then and only then we can enjoy the gifts of being Real.

– Michael Alcée, Ph.D., Relational therapist/ Clinical psychologistArt: Bawa Manjit, Acrobat

Self-Sabotage | Psychology Today Australia