Contemplation Stage

Thinking about changing, about why one follows the bad habit, what its payoff is. Bring both the rational mind and the emotions into play to move yourself to a commitment to change. “Sitting on the fence”

“Yes that is a concern for me, but I’m not willing or able to begin making a change within the next month.”


1. Validate the patient’s experience
2. Clarify the patient’s perceptions of the pros and cons of making a change
3. Encourage further self-exploration
4. Leave the door open for moving to preparation

1. Validate the patient’s experience:

“I’m hearing that you are thinking about making a change but you’re definitely not ready to take action right now.”

2. Acknowledge patient’s control of the decision:

“I don’t want to preach to you; I know that you’re an adult and you will be the one to decide if and when you are ready to do something.”

3. Clarify patient’s perceptions of the pros and cons of the change:

“Using this worksheet, what is one benefit of making a change? What is one drawback of change?”

4. Encourage further self-exploration:

“These questions are very important to beginning a successful change. Would you be willing to finish this at home and talk to me about it at our next visit?”

5. Restate your position that it is up to them:

“It’s totally up to you to decide if this is right for you right now. Whatever you choose, I’m here to support you.”

6. Leave the door open for moving to preparation:

“After talking about this, and doing the exercise, if you feel you would like to make some changes, the next step won’t be jumping into action – we can begin with some preparation work.”

For More Information

Two blog posts from our sister site,, are filled with good information.

Ready for Change?

Tools for Change