The Change Model: Make Every Change A Success
2020 has so far been a year of quite tumultuous change. Restrictions have been imposed and lifted, and we’ve had to adapt quickly at every stage. With time for reflection, many people have been thinking deeply about what they want for the future. Consequently, 2020 is catalysing change, whether it’s a change at home, in your relationship or career. You may realise a change is necessary, but that it’s not always easy to implement.
At my hypnotherapy practice in London, many clients come to me knowing that they want something in their life to change or that they feel stuck in their current situation. However, change can be scary and difficult without the right support. With this in mind, this post is a great introduction explaining how change works and what you can expect to feel when undergoing any form of change.
The Satir Change Model, developed by Virginia Satir, is one of the most common ways therapists will use to model change. While Satir was a pioneer in family therapy, her change model can apply to all manner of changes. From a planned or unexpected event, a change in relationships, work or in family dynamics; the Satir model is a clear visualisation of how individuals can expect to cope during change.
The Five Stages Of Change
1. Stuck In A Rut
Satir names this stage as the ‘late status quo’. It is the period of time where everything is familiar and predictable. During this stage, you can expect each day to pan out more or less the same. Life may seem to be running smoothly. Alternatively, you may feel bored, stuck or frustrated at the lack of progress in your life.
At this stage, you may feel your relationship is going through the motions. At work, it could be that you’re struggling to see the next step in your career ladder. At home, arguments may have become the norm, and you now expect tension every day.
Whether this stage feels good or bad to you, there will be an overall sense of familiarity and almost comfort.
2. Resisting A Change
After a period of being stuck in a rut, something will happen that will be the catalyst for change. Satir describes this as a ‘foreign element’. This foreign element, also known as an aggregator, may be something you instigate yourself. Alternatively, it may be something from outside sources that you do not expect.
Regardless of where the catalyst for change comes from, most people will feel an initial resistance.
A foreign element, or an aggregator, will require a response. The instinct reaction will be to deny, avoid the change or blame someone else rather than accept that this element could disrupt the comfortable familiarity and structure of being stuck in a rut.
The resistance may come in the form of; ‘I’ll start my health kick next Monday’ which is putting off the change to stay in that comfortable setting. In a relationship, you may realise that there is an issue but stay in the relationship for fear of the next step. If you missed out on a promotion, you might choose to blame the hiring committee, rather than confront your own areas of improvements.
In this stage, it is crucial to focus on your awareness of what is happening. It may help to seek help with a therapist to open yourself up to the possibility of change.
3. Leap Into The Unknown
The third stage, described as ‘chaos’, is where you enter the unknown. It is entirely understandable to feel anxious or vulnerable as you leave behind the comfort of the first stage. You may start to behave uncharacteristically.
For example, in a breakup, you may go out a lot more, rush into dating or getting into another relationship. At work, an issue may lead to erratic performance or a change in behaviour. Relationships with friends and family can also suffer at this stage. This is until people accept and acknowledge their fear of the unknown and how to benefit from the transformation process.
4. The Turning Point
It is this stage where people begin to see the catalyst for change as a positive or transforming idea. You may start to become excited about what this change means to you and what your future can hold. You have opened yourself up to the possibilities that the change can bring. Now, you look forward to bringing these ideas to life.
In this stage, you may start to feel a new identity or a new sense of purpose and belonging. So many people in this stage begin to feel euphoric with their potential and utterly invincible. Many people see this as the true turning point in their life.
While there is so much to look forward to, this stage can be vulnerable. Knock-backs and issues with new ideas can lead people to fall back into chaos.
For example, a change in career direction may lead to a job application rejection. If this is taken negatively, it can lead people to take a step back in their progress. Similarly, issues with new relationships can also cause difficulties.
So, while this stage is mostly positive, it is important to remember that you can also be vulnerable in this stage, and negativity can cause problems with the change.
Therapists know how critical it is to support individuals through this stage by offering a range of new coping methods to help maintain that positive momentum.
5. The New Normal
If a change is positive and well-received, then the new normal, or new status quo, feels healthy and calm. There is usually a huge sense of accomplishment and the belief that anything is possible.
You will begin to feel safe in this new normal, but it is vital to maintain that awareness of what is going on. This is to ensure that you can continue to look for imbalances and improvements. In this stage, you can start to become excited and motivated by change, instead of maintaining that prior resistance.
How Therapy Can Help With The Change Model
At each stage of the Satir change model, a therapist can help. They are there to offer support and advice every step of the way.
When you are stuck in a rut, a therapist can help you to find the answers or support your improvement.
When you resist a change, your therapist can help you to uncover the reasons why you’re so adverse to change and what your reaction really means. They can help to improve your awareness and understanding of your own reactions.
During the chaos stage, where you leap into the unknown, a therapist will have a safe environment where you can address your feeling and fear. Their support system can help to prevent self-destruction. With practical tools and solutions, therapists can give individuals the techniques to manage instability and turbulence.
Once at the turning point, therapists will be your cheerleaders, rooting for your personal growth. However, they will also offer a range of coping practices that you can deploy when facing difficulties.
Finally, at the new normal stage, your therapist will continue to maintain the safe space where you can carry on with your personal development, offering guidance and expertise of how you can reach your potential.
How To Successfully Manage Change
If you’re stuck in a rut and ready for a change, my blended therapy solution is here to help and support you through change. Following the Satir change model, we’ll make sure that every stage is working positively for your personal growth and the goals you want to achieve.
If you’d like to chat further about this, I offer free 15-minute consultations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your consultation, where we can uncover the changes that you may need support with.