To better understand how people make intentional change, Carlo DiClemente and James Prochaska put forth the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). They found there are five stages in making change and many of us are familiar with these from our own practice or even our own lives. At first, I’m not even thinking about change (Precontemplation) until something causes me to reflect, “Well, maybe I should…” (Contemplation). Once I decide to make a change, I must plan how I’ll do it (Preparation), then put that plan into Action. In Maintenance, I continue to deepen my commitment and motivation to keep my plan rolling until the change becomes the new normal.
Transtheoretical Model in Prime Programs
The Transtheoretical Model is one of the underlying foundations of Prime programs, and there are two aspects of it that set Prime programs apart from others with similar goals. First, while it can be helpful for counselors and instructors to know what stage of change a person they are working with is in, it can be even more helpful to know what tasks outlined by the TTM must be completed by the person to move them forward from one stage to the next. Prime Programs are designed to influence participants to complete these tasks.
Prime For Life® moves people.
Precontemplation > Contemplation > Preparation
Prime Solutions® takes them further.
Secondly, many programs focus on the plan. That is, to say, they start in Preparation. However, for the population many of us are trying to reach, we can expect most people will walk in the door in an earlier stage of the change process: often, Precontemplation. When a program’s content and process are not aligned with where its participants actually are, there is a mismatch of services. Prime programs, and Prime For Life specifically, are designed to help participants complete the tasks that move them away from Precontemplation and through Preparation.