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Five-stage client change model

Discuss about the Destructive Interpersonal Management Strategies.

According to Cervone and Pervin (2015) an abrasive personality is a one that hurts, annoys, criticizes and irritates any one without any strong remorse. There are two types of abrasive individuals who suffers from abrasive personality disorder: one who lacks the self- awareness and is not aware that he or she is suffering from abrasive personality and other one is aware of their condition but is boastful about it. The following report aims to analyse Dr. Alexander who has abrasive personality and is a neuro-surgeon. The report mainly aims to conduct an interview process with Dr. Alexander and then critically analyse the response obtained from the interview process under the light of the psychological theories. The report also aims to analyse the l interview process and at the end recommends measures that must be undertaken in order to improve the overall process.

Gerard (2007), highlighted Prochaska and Norcross (2002) five stage client change model. The five stages include precontemplation stage, contemplation stage, preparation stage, action and maintenance. Under precontemplation stage, the person is either unaware about his problems or is only vaguely aware. Even if he is ware about his problem he has no intention of taking any initiatives to change even though others are repeatedly telling him to change. Under contemplation stage, person is aware that he has problem and is thinking seriously in taking initiatives to change. However, he is lacking any clear perspectives regarding how to initiate the change. In the preparation stage, the person is on the verge of performing something about his problems or has already taking change initiatives but has failed. However, the failure is not a deterrent and the person still wants of move ahead with the change process. Under this step, proper support must come from the family members and friends towards assisting and encouraging the person to change. Action stage deals with the proper actions taken towards life-changing change in order to effectively modify the dysfunctional behaviour. Change at this stage tends to be visible and must be recognised by others. The last change of the client 5 stage change management model is maintenance stage. Under this stage, the person consolidates his gains and works in order to avoid relapse. This stage can go on for a long period of time even for a lifetime under certain instances (Gerard 2007).

Interview process

Gerard (2007) is under the framework, it can be said that the client is on the precontemplation stage. From the data published by Hicks and McCracken (2009), it is clear that is Dr. Alexander is aware about his abrasive personality disorder however, he has no strict intention about doing anything about the problem. So the main interview approach will mainly be based on the making him concerned about his problems and thereby framing active interventions to bring modification in his personality.

The desired outcome of the meetings and interview conduction will be to bringing a change in the thinking pattern of Dr. Alexander such that he feels the need to doing something about his personality problem (Gerard 2007). Thus the main outcome of the meeting is making Dr. Alexander to enter into the preparation stage of the client 5-stage change model. Under the preparations stage, Dr. Alexander showed be motivated in such a way that even if his initiates fail to achieve the desired outcomes, he will not give up. Even after failure, Dr. Alexander will once again attempt to take active initiatives in moving forward with a mindset that change is still possible. The goals that will drafted from the interview will be structured in such a way the Dr. Alexander gets deeply involved in life-changing change process in order to modify his dysfunctional behaviour (Gerard 2007).

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Interview Questions



1. Why do you think highlighting the flaws of others is beneficial?


Creating an attitude for change

2. Do you think that that your competitors are biggest barriers towards success

3. Do you want other people to obey you?

4. Do you think that behaving polite will help you to gain acceptability as a leader?


Sensing the rate of aggressive behaviour

1. How desperate are you to succeed?

Table: Structure of Interview

Source: Created by author

According to Hicks and McCracken (2009), self-recognition is an essential step for the need of change among the people with abrasive personality. This is because abrasive personality is not aware of self and at the same time they are not sensitive to their impacts over others.  This is same in case of Dr. Alexander. He is has a tendency to focus all his attention in trying to highlight the flaws of the ideas of other people. Moreover, Dr. Alexander is also professionally very successful and is intellectually one step ahead than others which makes him more confident about self along with is a disrespectful attitude towards others. Hicks and McCracken (2009) is of the opinion that the individuals with abrasive personality must have an objective mirror which will help to reflect back to the target person regarding how the rest of the world sees him. So question set for achieving goal 1 will help to understand the actual reason of certain behaviours of Dr. Alexander. In response to interview question 1, Alexander is of the opinion that he highlights flaws in other people because he thinks their flaws might create a barrier towards his success. Moreover, he also feels that highlighting the drawbacks of people whom he thinks are his competitors will help him to succeed further. The concept of extracting the actual mindset behind a sudden act, helps in the visualization of the reality to the target individual, suffering from abrasive personality. This concept goes well with the Bem’s self perception theory. According to Daryl Bem’s self-perception theory, individuals gain knowledge about who they actually are and about their attitudes via examining their own actions. Or via asking to self “why I am doing this?” (Vaughan and Hogg 2010). This result of the personal assessment changed his self-perception. Initially Dr. Alexander has a vague idea about his condition, but his own response helped him to realize the actual reality. This self realisation will in turn will help Dr. Alexander to change him as a person. However, more direct questions like, “do you actually care about how other feels or thinks about your dominating attitude?” will further help the interviewer to ascertain the actual level of chronicity of his abrasive behaviour.

Goals of the interview

According to Hicks and McCracken (2009) even if a person with abrasive personality recognizes a requirement for change, it will mostly be on an intellectual grounds and will not reciprocate a “gut-level” readiness that will influence them to change their attitude in reality. In order to make them change their overall attitude, there must be certain selfish reason. Hicks and McCracken (2009) highlighted that Dr. Alexander has a desire to head the neurological department and for this reason, he is more aggressive with this professional career. Hence in response to the interview question of goal 2, Dr. Alexander highlighted he thinks that his competitors are the main barriers towards his success. However, he wants his subordinates and all his colleagues to obey him as he feels he is superior and intelligent in comparison to them. This kind of attitude executed by Dr. Alexander goes well with the theory of planned behaviour. According to this theory, belief about resources and opportunities lead to the chance in the behavioural intention (Vaughan and Hogg 2010). Therefore, Dr. Alexander thinks that all his sub-ordinates and colleagues are the hurdles towards his dream professional goals and hence undermines them with an intention to eliminate those hurdles and clearing his path towards success. So in order to convince him for the change, the third question for goal 2 was framed. In response to this question, Dr. Alexander failed to provide any answer.  Therefore, further modification in the overall interview process will mostly deal with understanding the importance politeness in life of Dr. Alexander and then framing the intervention approaches accordingly.

This importance of change or an urgency of change can be achieved via making his understand that how success can be achieved via working in a team, guiding members as an effective leader. This will not only help the team of flourish but also will help him to success as a lead. Dr. Alexander must be enlightened with the concept that gaining to faith, respect and support from the team members is a core pillar behind a success of a leader (Avolio and Yammarino 2013).

One of the common traits in people with abrasive personality is the competitiveness present in them, that always possess the desire to be at the top and it is this desire that drives them to bring about a high change in their behaviour. In response to question for goal 3, Dr. Alexander said he is extremely desperate to achieve success. The high level of the aggressive behaviour can be explained by the Freud’s Psychodynamic theory and he has proposed that aggression in human is from an innate death instinct, opposite to the life instinct (Vaughan and Hogg 2010). According to the theory, the death instinct or aggressiveness is initially directed towards self but as a child develops it becomes directed to others (Vaughan and Hogg 2010). According to Sharpe et al. (2007) aggression might build up naturally but has to be expressed. The theorists and where aggression was viewed to be a more rational concept later revised this idea. Hence before applying suitable strategies it is necessary to understand the reason behind the aggressive behaviour.

Psychological theories

According to Zajonc's drive theory of social facilitation, the presence of the others drive the arousal that drives the dominant responses and again the performance is improved if the response of the dominant is correct and deteriorates if the Response of the dominant is not correct (Vaughan and Hogg 2010). This can be linked to Doctor Alexander's case by the fact that in a meeting he can conduct his thoughts in a very professional manner but gets hyper reactive if confronted by any question or disagreed by someone. This means that the Dr. Alexander's performance is hindered by the presence of someone who does not agree to him and thus causing social facilitation.  This approach is critical in nurturing the urge to change, his desperation to achieve the change will help to take multiple attempts to change his overall personality even if he encounters failure and this is the main criteria of contemplation stage (Stone 2012).

However, further modification in the question must be done. Questions that would stimulate the competitive behaviour in patient with abrasive personality can be turned against them sometimes (Stone 2012). Some questions like “How can you be so sure that you can change yourself, now when you understand that you have an abrasive personality?” or when will you start working on it?”This kind of a question will pose challenge to his existence and the patient will try his best guided by the fear to failure. Their competitive nature might develop a sense of fear in them that they may not meet up to their own words. The duty of a coach lies in the fact of bringing out the key factor that would stimulate change in the patients with abrasive personality, which might be the fruit of the answers given by the patient himself (Millon et al. 2012).

Abrasiveness is often taken as a shield to experience feelings of hurt and abandonment. Hence, the initial step towards a successful management is the identification of the root cause of the problem, followed by the severity of the problem. Before taking up any initiative, it is essential to understand the stage in which the client belongs to (Hicks and McCracken 2009). According to Wosket (2008) pre-contemplation is the stage where the patient is vaguely or totally unaware of the fact that he needed to change or his behaviour is causing problem in others. Hence it seems that Dr. Alexander is in the pre-contemplation stage hence it is the duty of the coach to take him to the contemplation stage where the patient would be aware of his condition and would admit that he/ she needed desirable change and should be mentally prepared to seek help from any counsellor or expert. Making patient aware of their condition is an important step in the treatment of such kind of behaviour. The skilled helper model can be useful in managing the outrageous behaviour of the abrasive personality patients (Wosket 2008).

Analysis of Dr. Alexander's responses

The skilled helper model enables a client to ask the following questions to themselves:

  • "What is the problem?"
  • “What do I want in my life? Is there any change that would make me merrier?"
  • “What shall I do to turn my desired scenario in to reality?", "Finally what steps should I take?"

It is the duty of the coach or the therapist for helping out the patient to find out the answers. A therapist should be able to help out the clients to share their stories that would help the patient to have distorted picture of himself, the problems and the unused opportunities (Hicks and McCracken 2009). This entirely depends upon the communication skills of the therapist and the development of the interpersonal relationship with the patient (Wosket 2008). One of the important aspect of the verbal communication with the client is the strategic use of the questions and also a field of professional development. Questions can encourage openness in clients and clarify the meanings of the client’s statements (Sharpe et al. 2007).

Other aspects that should be practiced by the practitioners involves: Helping out the clients to reframe their stories, helping out the clients to achieve leverage by working on the issues that can make a difference (Sharpe et al. 2007). A professional therapist should be able to allow the clients to choose the challenging and the realistic goals and to identify the unused opportunities. The therapist should be able to identify the possible tactics that has to be applied as each client calls for different strategies (Crawshaw 2005). An ongoing evaluation of the process taken up would help out the therapists to understand what is happening to each client and how can their practice be improved in future (Martin et al. 2012). The therapists should be able to develop the helping relationships with the clients and should be able to inculcate values that helps to drive a helping relationship is being competent and committed, assuming the goodwill of the client, keeping the agenda of the client in the focus, not rushing to judgment and keeping empathy as the prime orientation belief.


In conclusion, it can be said that the Abrasive personality disorder is a psychological condition that will only affects the wellbeing of the patient but also affects the ambience of the work place. The distorted perception and thee gocentric viewpoint of these people about the world might affect the resilience of the other workers. Hence, it is the duty of the therapists to make them understand about their clinical condition, as most of them are unaware of their condition. The interventions initiates with a clear assessment of their condition followed by making them realize about the reality and helping them out to recognize the changes. Using their competitive attitude can foster a sense of challenge in them about their wellbeing. Finally, it can be said that, developing a client- therapist relationship, effective communication and collaborating with the client to for making a viable plan is the key to the management of the patient with abrasive personality disorder.


Avolio, B.J. and Yammarino, F.J. eds., 2013. Introduction to, and overview of, transformational and charismatic leadership. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. xxvii-xxxiii). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Cervone, D. and Pervin, L.A., 2015. Personality, binder ready version: theory and research. John Wiley & Sons.

Crawshaw, L., 2005. Coaching abrasive executives: Exploring the use of empathy in constructing less destructive interpersonal management strategies. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA.

Gerard, E., 2007. The skilled helper: a problem-management and opportunity development approach to helping. Belmont, CA. Thomson. Chapter 2: p29-46

Hicks, R. and McCracken, J., 2009. Coaching the abrasive personality. Physician Executive Journal, pp.1-3.

Martin, L.S., Oades, L.G. and Caputi, P., 2012. What is personality change coaching and why is it important. International Coaching Psychology Review, 7(2), pp.185-193.

Millon, T., Millon, C.M., Meagher, S.E., Grossman, S.D. and Ramnath, R., 2012. Personality disorders in modern life. John Wiley & Sons.

Sharpe, D., Anderson, C., White, A., Galvan, S. and Siesta, M., 2007. Specific elements of communication that affect trust and commitment in the financial planning process.

Stone, M.H., 2012. Disorder in the domain of the personality disorders. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 40(1), pp.23-45.

Vaughan, G.M. and Hogg, M.A., 2010. Essentials of social psychology. Pearson Australia.

Wosket, V., 2008. Egan's Skilled Helper Model: Developments and Implications in Counselling. Routledge.

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