The addition of insight
The Prochaska and DiClemente model, used by professionals around the world, is accepted as a successful way of looking at change within the areas of alcohol and substance abuse.
But there are challenges using any existing model outside the context it was developed in - and we needed to know if this model could be used safely within the field of child protection.
The key area we identified as problematic was the lack of insight.
To move forward successfully, parent and practitioner need to be in agreement about the issues being faced. It’s vital the practitioner is confident that the parent understands these issues and the impact on their children. The hypothesis is that if someone is insightful, they’re more likely to change: understanding and comprehending the issues can reduce apathy and ambivalence, often apparent in neglectful parents.
In several works, Bentovim (Bentovim et al 1987; Bentovim 2004) argues that parents’ failure to take responsibility for their children’s maltreatment, their dismissal of the need for treatment, their failure to recognise their children’s needs and the maintenance of insecure - or ambivalent - parent–child attachments are key indicators of a poor prognosis following maltreatment.
To help practitioners truly understand where parents are in their readiness for change, we added a qualifying statement on insight for practitioners to use.
Along with using the model, practitioners ask whether parents truly understand why professionals are worried, if they accept their parenting is having a detrimental effect on their children, and if they can see what needs to change and why.
This insight can be explained to parents to help them understand and explore why things need to change, moving them through the change cycle.