Social Work Services Essay on Change Process

Change Process

The study of change has proved that people undergo a series of transformations while modifying their behaviors. While there is no specific time that an individual should take in one stage, certain principles have to be followed in order to proceed to the next stage. Psychologists and counselors have utilized motivational interviewing to engage clients into intrinsic motivation with an aim to change behavior (Kristenmacher, & Weiss, 2008). Behavior-change programs are developed through understanding why and how individuals need to change. This study focuses on transtheoretical model of change, commonly used in motivating individual to consider behavior change.

Using Transtheoretical Stages for Change

Transtheoretical model of change describes change as progressive, and usually occurs in six stages, which include (1) pre-contemplation (2) contemplation (3) preparation (4) action (5) maintenance, and (6) termination (Summerfield, 2015). The case of Bettina in “The School Brawler” depicted a person who was in need of change, but did not know how to begin the process of change. According to Walsh (2013), Bettina feared being expelled from school, or maybe, ending up in juvenile prison. She knew change was necessary in order to remain in school.

In this connection, Bettina was in contemplation stage because she knew the situation she was in, and was ready to make a change. She knew the pros of engaging in exchange of blows, as well as the consequences of such behavior. In this stage of contemplation, the client has an intention of change because he/she wants to shift the balance back to the positive behavior (Kolundzija, et al., 2011). It could have been a difficult task trying to engage Bettina in a counseling therapy if she did not understand the consequences of her action.

The moment before concluding the therapy section, Bettina had already moved to the preparation stage, where she was ready to take actions that would secure her future in the school, as well as society (Wormer, 2007). She understood her problem, thus was able to offer a temporary solution. Bettina stated that she could evade people who tempted her to fall into problems, in addition to requesting her friends to assist her in reclaiming her calmness (Walsh, 2013). By making suggestions of what she could change, Bettina demonstrated that she was ready to commit herself to change, with the help of a counselor.

The process of change incorporates stimulus control in order to encourage the individual in need of change to avoid negative behaviors that could inhibit change (Scheel, & Conoley, 1998). In the transtheoretical stages of change, stimulus control is an intervention that persuades the client to change his/her environment by creating a sense of self-efficacy and improving decisional balance so that he/she can avoid problem behavior (Kolundzija, et al., 2011). One of interactions that encouraged Bettina to contemplate on change was when the social worker asked her why she liked fighting. This statement encouraged Bettina to evaluate both sides of her problem, as she could realize that the ‘good’ reasons that made her fight were very few. The other reason that encouraged Bettina to change was when the social worker strategically chose techniques that motivate change. He never forced Bettina to undertake specific steps to be committed to the change plan


The concept that makes transtheoretical model of change exceptional is that changes usually happen over time, hence, guaranteeing behavioral change. Change involves moving from one state to another state after meeting the requirements for each stage. Motivation interviewing can assist individuals to understand their situations as they prepare to change since it engages clients in suggesting the appropriate measures to enhance behavior change. The transtheoretical model of change is essential for human motivation and evaluation of readiness for change.


Kristenmacher, B.R & Weiss, R.L (.2008). Circular questioning and neutrality: an investigation of the process relationship. Violence and Victims 23 (5), 558-570.

Kolundzija, K., Gajic, Z., Misic-Pavkov, G., & Maras, J. S. (2011). Core Constructs of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Curr Top Neurol Psychiatr Relat Discip 19(1), 48-52. Retrieved from

Scheel, M. J & Conoley, W .C (1998).Circular Questioning and Neutrality: An Investigation of the Process Relationship. Contemporary family therapy. 20(2), 221-235.

Summerfield, L. (2015). Nutrition, exercise, and behavior: An integrated approach to weight management. Australia: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Walsh, J. (2013). Theories for direct social work practice. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Wormer, K. Van (2007). Motivational Interviewing: A Theoretical Framework

For the Study of Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Advances in Social Work 8 (1), 19-29.