Saturday, September 24, 2011

Toward the future of your sexual health

We can never see past the choices we don't understand. (Matrix Reloaded)

The process of sexual health is a journey, a journey that leads to places you may not understand. This is scary, and a normal part of the process. The goal of the process isn’t to make you turnout or behave in a proscribed manner. Instead, it is helping you chart a path for your future addressing things you may not necessarily understand in this moment.

This process of change has a predictable pattern. Weaved throughout the process are concepts from of stages of change model which helps individuals understand how a person changes behavior. The first stage is precontemplation; its focus is the lack of any change, any desire for change, and /or no perceived need for change. For many individuals, this might be the first time you’ve read anything on all or any of the topics. Phrases such as, “I didn’t know it was a problem” Or, “I didn’t see the connection before.” illustrate this stage. Contemplation, stage two, is when an individual might be aware of, or recognize a problem, but not make any changes either because they are too overwhelmed, or not willing to commit to change the behavior. Avoiding a topic, or not talking about something are examples of this stage. Stage three, preparation reflects when an individual recognizes a need to make a change, and even has an idea about what to do. For some reason, however, the plan isn’t started, completed, or other addressed. “I haven’t done that yet.” Or, “Yes, but…” statements are expressive of this stage. Stage 4, action is when the individual actually changes the behavior. It is here when the work and struggle often occurs. This is also where a client can look back and see the progress. It is also when failure or giving-up can occur. Understanding that the struggle, and even failure, is simply part of the process allows the individual to re-start plans and celebrate when the plans are completed. The fifth and final stage is maintenance. This is where the new behavior is now the new habit, and it continues on its own. Sometimes continuing care plans (also called relapse prevention plans) are designed to reduce the risk of relapse or a failure.

This model is helpful because it allows the individual to identify where he or she is at in the process of change, especially when the path is not understood. It allows the individual to reframe any action (or lack of action) into the process of growth. If you're not willing to make a change, the model can be helpful to understand why and what can be done. For example, you can ask if you need information, what the avoidance may be about, figure out what else is needed, or implement the plans. If you aren't willing to make the change, an underlying issue may be discovered that is the barrier to be addressed first. As you move through the process, reflect where you are at in your willingness to change. The topics are set-up to help you clarify what you need to do for you to allow you to address your stage in that topic. There are no right or wrong responses, simply what you will do next.

Through the process

that doesn’t necessarily have bout value clarification.

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