Why change?

Well done! By accessing this self-help guide you have taken a brave step forwards. You are presumably concerned about your sexual thoughts and want to take positive action to deal with the problem. You have the power to stop yourself from acting on these thoughts and this guide will provide you with information and tools to help you manage the thoughts and avoid acting on them in any way which could be harmful, to yourself or others.

We recognise that ‘change’ means different things for different people, and that different people will have different goals in using this site. Some individuals will recognise they need to change harmful behaviours, such as accessing indecent images of children or contact sexual abuse. However, some will not consider they need to change their behaviour, perhaps because they have never offended and have not experienced a strong urge to do so.

It is important to emphasise that ‘change’ can incorporate what you do in your internal world of thoughts, fantasies and ideas. For some individuals, change could be defined as ‘feeling better’ or spending less time thinking about illegal sexual fantasies.

It is important to be aware that working on these problems can become difficult and distressing, as personal growth and change often can be.

Most of us recognize that change is not an event that suddenly occurs. Rather, it is a process that gradually unfolds over time. As this process begins to unfold, a person’s motivation changes. A popular framework for discussing motivation to change is the Stages of Change Model developed by James Prochaska, Ph.D. and Carlo DiClimente, Ph.D.

In Changing for Good (1994), Prochaska and DiClemente describe the six stages of change:





Identify where you are in the cycle by giving examples in the box.

Stage of Change Characteristics Examples My examples
Pre-contemplation Not currently considering change: “Ignorance is bliss” Justify the behaviour “it’s not as bad as…” “I’m not hurting anyone”.
Contemplation Ambivalent about change:

“Sitting on the fence”

Not considering change within the next month

Thinking of pros and cons of behaviour
Preparation Some experience with

change and are trying to change: “Testing the waters”

Researching change on-line, finding out where support groups are.
Action Practising new behaviour

for 3-6 months

No longer doing harmful behaviour, working through self-help material, attending support groups
Maintenance Continued commitment to sustaining new behaviour

Post-6 months to 5 years

Plan for follow-up support

Discuss coping with relapse

Having alternative activities that meet needs

Lapse/Relapse Resumption of old behaviours: “Fall from


Evaluate trigger for relapse

Reassess motivation and barriers

Plan stronger coping strategies


By accessing this website you have recognised that you have a problem you want to address and are (at least) in the preparation stage. Move into action and start the self-help guide today.

Your problematic sexual thoughts are only one part of you, they do not define you:

You need to take one step at a time, do not rush through the resources on this site. You need to engage in the work and reflect on your life. It has taken a long time to get where you are and change can take time too. Don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t happen overnight.

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