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Lesson 4 – Introduction to Theories of Change



In this lesson we will look at two different models of change:

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The Trans-Theoretical Model of Change reflects a Western worldview for understanding change and is a commonly used framework in the current treatment of problematic substance use in British Columbia. It furnishes us with a common language when liaising with other service providers.

Working with individuals with problematic substance use confronts service providers with the contradictory requirements of acceptance with the need to make change. In order to meet individuals where they are at, to validate their experience and autonomy, we need to radically accept them as they are.

When an individual is experiencing significant negative consequences from their problematic substance use, towards themselves and towards their family, there is also recognition for the need to make change. As service providers, we need to hold the tension between these positions as we seek to connect with and accept the individual while at the same time operating as agents for positive change in their lives.

globeThe Circle Process, representing an Indigenous worldview, indicates a need to understand the interconnections between individuals, communities and their choices. Healing is not only necessary for the individual but for everyone who is connected to that person. A common premise of Western harm reduction initiatives is respect for substance users and their choices, i.e. meeting individuals where they are at. An Indigenous worldview extends this initiative to all who are impacted by an individuals substance use and all who are impacted by the substance use must be met.

In this module, we will also look at the Seeking Safety Training perspective on planning for change, review the Wellness Wheel as a conceptual framework for change and examine the concepts behind Motivational Interviewing.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the Stages of Change
  2. Explore the Circle Process and consider what cultural safety means in the context of colonialism
  3. Explore the Seeking Safety concept of Climbing Mount Recovery
  4. Examine the Wellness Wheel and its place in recovery and healing
  5. Develop a familiarity with Motivational Interviewing

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