Castle Personal Training

Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.

The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) Stage 6; Relapse

Hi guys,


Hope you’re well and have enjoyed the first 5 blogs about the Stages of Change model.

The last one about the Stages, there might be one or two case studies coming up at a later date, is to do with Stage 6; Relapse.


To be honest, this is a bit of a tricky one when it comes to people who are using the model to help them with weight management issues. You can imagine that it’s easy enough for an alcoholic or someone dealing with an addiction to narcotics to establish when they’ve had a relapse, 1 drink is enough. But for people who are using the model to help them have a healthier lifestyle, and relationship, with food it’s not as clear cut.

So we have to establish what a Relapse is first and this is open to some debate.

For me a relapse is when the individual falls back into their old behaviour and the old mindset and emotions become part of that. So attending a birthday party and having a pizza and some icecream does not necessarily constitute a relapse. If however that pizza is followed by a “feck it” attitude and a slip into old habits then I would class this as a Relapse. So, as with much else in life, context matters.

enjoy pizzaq

You can go into the Relapse stage from any of the 3 “action” stages, Preparation, Action and Maintenance and you can drop back into any of the 5.

People in the relapse stage are often overwhelmed by negative emotions; shame, guilt etc. The instinct is therefore to return to some form of comfort zone. This is important to realise as it means that, if we create a comfort zone that is supportive and helpful, this does not need to lead to someone going back into Denial.

Relapse does NOT equal failure. This is the single most important message to get out to someone in the Relapse stage, and is probably best addressed before they ever find themselves in the Relapse stage.

Going through all the stages several times is a normal part of creating lasting change. We are not interested in using this model to create a change of lifestyle for 3-6 months, it is about creating a healthy lifestyle for the rest of someone’s life.

Individuals in the Relapse stage need help to reduce the feelings of guilt and shame. We also need to look at the triggers that caused them to Relapse and deal with them and the barriers to success. If we learn lessons from the relapse then, in the long run, it can be a valuable experience. Just saying “Oh well, get back on the horse” is no good as it means you just pretend it didnt’ happen and that means you didn’t learn from the experience. It is also a false way to support someone as the professional/sponsor (Personal Trainer, Dietician, medical professional or personal sponsor etc.) often, subconsciously, uses that phrase in an effort to sound supportive and non-judgemental but it actually means they too don’t need to put the hard work in to help the individual recover and create lasting change.

We have to get back into the Determination and Action stage, identify the triggers and find the motivation to create the lasting change that soo many people are actually looking for.

old life new life

It might not be an easy journey but it will be one that’s worth it.

That brings to an end the series about the The Transtheoretical model. Again, I would just like to state that you can use this model for ANY problem behaviour; workaholism, procrastination etc. Other models are of course available and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of the other ways; the point of the series was mainly to point out that you have to have a plan when it comes to change. Change does not just happen, behavioural change has to be a conscious decision or it’s never going to stick. If you take anything from this series then I hope it’s that.

Take care and, as always, get in touch if you’d like to share your thought and ideas or have any questions.





2 comments on “The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) Stage 6; Relapse

  1. Pingback: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) Stage 5; Maintenance | Castle Personal Training

  2. Pingback: Are you making an INTENTIONAL change? | Castle Personal Training

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on 04/04/2018 by and tagged , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: