Video: Dr. John Norcross explains the 5 basic steps of change

Dr. John Norcross explains the 5 basic steps of change in his book Changeology

JN:      So it begins in the Psych Step.  That is, people are getting motivated, energized, heading in a new direction.  As the term designates, it is truly getting revved up.  From Psych, we go to the second step of Prep, short for Preparation, where we prepare, we come up with an action plan, even establish a start date.  And then we jump into Perspire, or the action stage, where people actually change their behavior.  As you and I know, the average layperson considers change to begin in the Action or Perspire Stage.

But we know the months, if not years of work that goes on before that.  Once into the Perspire Stage, people need to then keep it going, and they need to avoid a slip from becoming a fall.  So that leads to our fourth step, Persevere, continuing despite the slips.  And finally, we know it’s not enough just to change for just a couple of days or even a couple of weeks.  So the challenge is long-term maintenance or, as we call it, the Persist Stage.  So change unfolds in this series of steps, step by step.  Psych, Prep, Perspire, Persevere and ultimately, Persist.

About the Author

John C. Norcross, PH.D. John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, is a clinical psychologist, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  He specializes in the areas of  psychotherapy, clinical training, and self-change. Dr. Norcross is the acclaimed author of the self-help book Changeology, as well as hundreds of professional journal publications and books. He is past-president of the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychotherapy and the Division of Clinical Psychology. He has served as an APA council representative and as a director of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. Learn more about Dr. John C. Norcross' work at the Changeology website.

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