Using the Stages of Change model

Unless you have a very specific health promotion remit in your role (maybe, for instance, you work in a family planning clinic and are to be trained to discuss contraception options with young people), it’s likely that your health promotion function will run ‘alongside’ your other role functions. In other words, health promotion is something you can absorb into your everyday work activity, seeing each contact with a patient/client and/or relative as an opportunity to look at health issues.

Being armed with knowledge of the stages of change model means you’ll be able to converse with individuals at their level – in other words, you won’t be pushing ‘action’ to someone who’s in the precontemplation stage.

But it’s not something to dive into without first developing your relationship with the person and gaining his or her confidence. So before we look at some tips on using the Stages of Change model in practice with people at different stages, you might want to have a quick refresher on the resource’s sections on person-centred care and consent. The next section of the resource, on communication methods (especially non-verbal communication, verbal communication, listening and questioning), is also very important. These are the foundations from which good health promotion practice grows.