What is the contemplation stage of change for alcoholism?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Contemplation represents the first evidence of dynamic behavior. The individual expresses a tentative belief in the possibility that alcohol use might be harmful. The hallmark of this stage is ambivalence and skepticism. Skepticism is not the same as denial but instead allows some degree of personal reflection. The patient is receptive to new information, or just as likely reassured that current behavior is acceptable, in the absence of information. Thus, the clinician should influence the ambivalence characteristic of contemplation in a direction favoring change. This can include pointing out that the patient's actions are not congruent with their goals, giving pamphlets concerning alcohol abuse, and suggesting an abstinence trial.


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