The Psychology of Change & How To Get Started

Have you ever felt restless and unhappy with your environment, occupation, diet, living situation, romantic partner, finances, hobbies, or even your own body? We all yearn for change - especially when our mental health is taking a hit.

No matter what you're struggling with right now, rest assured that you are capable of manifesting the change you need and deserve. But how do you get started? 

Believe it or not, psychologists and researchers agree there is an actual process for how change occurs. Resolving that restlessness and unhappiness you feel involves specific stages you'll need to go through in order to truly bring about lasting change.

Below you'll find a complete description of the three elements and six stages involved in the psychology of getting started.


Grouport will be used as an example to demonstrate a change (group therapy) someone wants to bring about in their life. 


Elements of Change: The Stages of Change Model


There are three key elements of change, and to succeed at manifesting any change, you'll want to know them! Make sure to ask yourself these key questions (we suggest writing them down) as you begin the process of pursuing positive change.


  1. Readiness to change: Do you have the knowledge and resources you need to start trying group therapy?
  2. Barriers to progress: Is there anything preventing you from starting group therapy and attending consistently?
  3. Awareness of pitfalls: What might trigger you to relapse back into old coping mechanisms and stop attending Grouport therapy?


Stage 1: Precontemplation

Summary

The earliest stage of change, precontemplation, is all about being in denial when it comes to realizing that a current behavior is posing problems in your life or the lives of others. Maybe you don't recognize that the behavior is harmful, or that it is having negative consequences. 

Example

You’re struggling with anxiety and have specific concerns that you feel like your friends and family just won’t understand, but you’re not open to trying group therapy or any other kind of therapy. So you turn to bad habits and unhelpful coping mechanisms to relieve yourself from the stress and anxiety that this is causing in your life (alcohol, overworking, drugs, or any other form of escapism). These bad habits lead to more anxiety and more issues, which compounds the underlying problem and makes it worse. 

Stage 1 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Ignorance of situation
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Denial that there is a problem

Strategies to Create Change

  • Self-reflect on your actions
  • Take an honest personal inventory
  • Assess the risks of your current behavior/coping mechanisms
  • Envision better habits and recognize your ability to choose change

Stage 2: Contemplation

Summary

The second stage of change is easy to recognize: This is where you admit to yourself the positive benefits of making a certain change (like group therapy)! This is also the time frame where it becomes clear that you will need to give up certain things in order to achieve change. As a result, this stage can bring with it a sense of inner conflict.

Example

You see Grouport mentioned in an article online and see all of the groups they offer. The one that resonates the most with you is the Anxiety Group, and you’re instantly curious to meet others who experience similar feelings of anxiety in their lives. You begin to imagine the freedom of life without anxiety. But, this also causes stress, because your brain starts to worry about where to find the time for your group therapy sessions or how to fit therapy into your budget.

Stage 2 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Having mixed feelings 
  • Creating reasons for resistance 
  • Making excuses 

Strategies to Create Change

  • Make a pro and con list
  • Identify any barriers in your way
  • Visualize how positive change (like freedom from anxiety) will impact your life in specific ways

Stage 3: Preparation

Summary

You're halfway there! During the preparation stage, you might start introducing small changes to your lifestyle and “trying on” what it feels like. For instance if you want to stop drinking alcohol, you might start by only drinking on the weekends or special occasions, before completely quitting cold turkey. This stage eases any resistance in your mind and prepares it for the next phase. 

Example

You start researching the different types of therapy online. You make a list of the pros and cons of individual vs. group therapy because you want to weigh your options. Some of your colleagues go to therapy, so you ask them questions about their therapists, what techniques they use, and if they find therapy beneficial. Then, you begin journaling your goals for therapy and what you are hoping to achieve from trying group therapy. 

Stage 3 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Starting to experiment in small doses
  • Learning more about the change
  • Collecting resources and seeking support

Strategies to Create Change

  • Journal goals for the change
  • Outline actionable items and next steps
  • Participate in affirmations

Stage 4: Action

Summary

Action is the fourth stage of change, which includes any direct action you take that leads you close toward your goal! This stage is one of the hardest to stick to if the other phases haven’t been mastered yet. It’s easy to relapse or give up if you haven't taken the time to make your goal (such as attending group therapy) and the purpose of this change (such as diminishing anxiety) clear to yourself.

Example

You decide to sign up for a consultation at Grouport. After your initial consultation with a licensed professional at Grouport, you are matched with the Anxiety Group because the counselor agrees this is where your needs will be best met. You receive a unique link in your email for the first meeting day and time. You add the session to your day planner and phone calendar. A few days later, you attend your first Grouport online group therapy session. It lasts one hour and you are billed only $35 (less than 1/4 of the individual therapy costs you saw in your earlier research).

Stage 4 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Taking direct action
  • Exploring replacement habits

Strategies to Create Change

  • Attend an event
  • Sign up for a class
  • Celebrate small victories
  • Seek social support and accountability

Stage 5: Maintenance

Summary

During the maintenance stage of change, you should become reassured that you will be able to continue your new habit long-term. A few setbacks or relapses are normal, but if the new change is applied most of the time, eventually you will become more confident in the change and learn to trust the process. It will become habit for you!

Example

Grouport becomes a place where you finally feel like you’re not alone. Surrounded by others with similar struggles, you feel like you’re learning a lot by giving and receiving feedback to these new peers. Your communication and socialization skills are improving, and you practice exercises for coping with anxiety that you can take home and apply to your day-to-day life. There is a strong sense of belonging that comes with being a Grouport member, and conquering your long-term anxiety begins to feel less intimidating with consistent group therapy.

Stage 5 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Staying committed to the new change
  • Avoiding the temptation of past behavior
  • Turning off excuses or negative thoughts

Strategies to Create Change

  • Reward yourself by celebrating milestones
  • Utilize the advantages of your new change
  • Spend time with people who have similar goals

Stage 6: The Possibility of Relapse

Summary

There is a cocktail of positive and negative feelings surrounding the level of commitment involved in a long-term lifestyle change. It’s normal to feel frustrated or disappointed sometimes with what may feel like slow progress, setbacks, or temptations. The key is to keep your confidence levels high and not let self-doubt and fear take over. You can do this! 

Example

Trying group therapy is going well! You feel at home in the Grouport space, and you’re starting to get to know the other members in your group on a more personal level. The sessions are relaxed, inviting, and helpful. You're getting into a rhythm. But one day, your work situation changes and you find yourself having one of the most stressful months you can remember. You skip your Grouport sessions for three weeks straight and turn to alcohol and junk food to escape from the surge in anxiety. But, you recognize the relapse, forgive yourself, and reaffirm your promise to stay focused on your new anxiety coping mechanism: group therapy. You set reminders in your phone calendar for the next month of Grouport sessions, ask a friend to hold you accountable to attend, and commit to yourself to follow through even during (and especially in) stressful times. 

Stage 6 Characteristics to Recognize

  • Self-doubt
  • Resentment or regret
  • Fear of missing out
  • Feelings of failure

Strategies to Create Change

  • Tune into the places, activities, or people that trigger relapse
  • Knock down and remove barriers wherever possible
  • Re-read affirmations or write new ones 
  • Seek out continuous social support
  • Track your progress and remember how far you've come

Understanding the psychology of change and all of its modules helps you become more equipped to recognize your need for change and take the steps required to manifest positive change in your life, long-term.


Is Grouport worth it?

Grouport’s innovative system ensures an individual can receive the benefits of group therapy in a way that is specifically tailored to their situation for optimal progress.


Expert-led group sessions are known to empower members to feel less alone, develop critical relational skills, and gain support and wisdom from others that they can apply to all areas of their lives.


Group therapy reaffirms the commitment to healthy replacement habits and permanent lifestyle changes and members receive lifelong support and love from one another. 

Grouport Reviews


“The therapy from Grouport is high quality and convenient. I am becoming much more self aware and am liking myself more. My relationships at work are better and I’m much happier.” - Janice, 56


“I highly recommend this to anyone who is struggling with anxiety or depression. The therapists are top notch and have made me feel really comfortable and my anxiety has improved tremendously in only a few sessions!” -Avi, 37


It's difficult for me to stay motivated to practice DBT and this group helps me. It helps me focus and practice DBT skills for an hour. I'm unable to do this on my own. And it's nice to be around a group of people for support.” - Liz, 34


“Grouport has truly shown me that I am not the only one struggling.” - Sean, 30


February 11, 2022

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