The Stages of Change

Family caregivers commonly experience the frustration of supporting a loved one who doesn’t think that they have a problem or one who knows there is a problem but doesn’t want to deal with it. Often, a family caregiver will notice signs of a possible mood disorder before the individual with those symptoms does. If the family caregiver and the person with the mood disorder are not in sync, it can strain the relationship. It’s helpful to understand a pattern of human behavior referred to the Stages of Change. According to this model, each person moves along the path to change at their own pace and not necessarily in a forward direction. Change can take years to achieve, so it is important for family caregivers to set realistic expectations.