ACTIVITY: Stages of Change

This is an activity that brings stages of change to life!  Stages of Change by Prochaska, DiClemente and Norcross, is a wonderful way of normalizing the change process and helping clients understand the natural process of change.  It also affords us some great insights about how we can support clients in their change process by attending to certain tasks at each stage of change.  If you would like more information about this, please leave a comment and I can write a post delving deeper into the stages of change.

Purpose: This activity helps clients self-identify their stage of change and develop a plan for progress

Materials Needed: Flipchart paper and markers


  1. Introduce stages of change in a way that clients understand each of the stages.
  2. Write down each of the stages on a flipchart and paste each of the stages in different parts of the room.
  3. Ask the clients to think about a behavior that they are working on changing. It could be quitting using, it could be changing thinking, it could be being more patient.
  4. Then, ask the clients to identify what stage of change they are in by going and standing next to that particular stage.
  5. Once they are there, hand each stage-of-change group a marker and ask them to write down some of the characteristics of that particular stage based on their experience of that stage.
  6. Ask the groups to share their findings and to also explain why they believe they are in that particular stage.
  7. If you want to increase the tension in the group, ask the clients to look around. Are there some clients who they would have placed in a different stage?
  8. Now, ask the clients what they need to do to move to the next stage of change? What need to happen in order for them to progress?  What’s holding them back?

Tips and Talking Points

  1. This is a fun activity to shift the shape of group and have clients express their understanding of the material.
  2. The activity provides insight into the client’s level of self-awareness.
  3. Play with the phrasing of the question about identifying stages of change in others. The point is not to call people out (though that does happen) but to help clients understand how their behavior is perceived.  Remind clients about their skills for giving and receiving feedback when doing this part.
  4. This is a helpful activity to do as a warm up to goal-setting because it helps clients think about steps they need to take to make progress.

Starts the learning around: Change, Stages of Change, Giving and receiving feedback

4 thoughts on “ACTIVITY: Stages of Change

  1. Anjali,
    I would love it if you posted a deeper dive into the stages of change.
    I appreciated how you introduced the stages in our group facilitators class!


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