Can people really change?

There are many reasons why we may wish to change ourselves or the people in our lives.

For example, if you make a mistake, you may regret it and promise yourself that you will change and do better next time. Or, if you think you have a problem, you may have tried to change, but may not have succeeded, said Dr. Aimee Daramus, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of “Understanding Bipolar Disorder.”

Damarus pointed out that you may also want to change the person you love, such as a child or partner. Their words and deeds may hurt you or make you uneasy, and you may be eager for them to change for your or their own benefit. Sometimes, unless they change, you may find it hard to love them.

You may even want to change other people in your life, such as your colleagues, teachers, neighbors, or others who interact with you. Their behavior may make you feel confused or frustrated, and you may want them to change their ways.

This article explores whether people can change and some of the treatment modalities that can help drive change.

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Can people change?

You may have heard the phrase “leopards cannot change its spots”, which basically means that people are born in a certain way and they cannot change.

However, research shows that change is actually possible.

For example, a 2016 study found that people who want to change certain aspects of their personality can do so, and if the change is consistent with their goals, their happiness will increase.

A 2017 review analyzed the results of 207 studies and found that with the support of treatment and intervention, people can change their personalities and experience improvements in their mental health.

In other words, it is important to understand that change is not easy. Therefore, this is a possibility, but not a guarantee, especially if someone is unwilling to change.

Amy Durhams, PhD in Psychology

Sometimes people are not emotionally prepared for change. When there is a choice, many people will choose familiar bad situations instead of unfamiliar and terrible improvements. It’s much easier if you know the rules, even if it’s really hard in other ways.

— Aimee Daramus, PhD in Psychology

Damarus went on to say that trying to force someone to change is manipulation.

If the person you want to change is not yourself, then you may want them to change as much as you can do. For example, you can encourage and support them, and you can even set an example for them and set a positive example. However, you have no control over their behavior and ultimately depend on them.

Type of treatment

People can usually change their personality characteristics, habits, behaviors, thoughts and attitudes with the help of therapeutic interventions. Below, Durhams outlines some forms of treatment that may be helpful.

Acceptance therapy

Acceptance commitment therapy (ACT) is a therapy that focuses on accepting negative behaviors, personality traits, or situations first. Since then, it promotes a commitment to positive thinking and behavior patterns to help drive change.

For example, take a person who wants to lose weight. If the person goes on a diet out of self-loathing, they may engage in behaviors that ultimately endanger their physical and mental health.

ACT can help them identify these unhealthy behaviors and promote sustainable and safer healthier behaviors.

Inspirational interview

Motivational interviews are about understanding the stages of change. You meet someone where they are and ask questions that make them think. The questions you ask people who don’t want to change are very different from the questions you ask people who are already trying.

This form of treatment is designed to attract people and help them build motivation for change. This may be especially helpful if the person has mixed feelings about whether they want to change and is not particularly confident in their ability to change.

Very good sentence

If you feel angry, hurt, or frustrated by someone’s words and actions, you may want them to change. If you don’t like your own things, you may even want to change yourself.

Change can be difficult, but research shows that change is possible. If you want to change some aspects of yourself that may be inconsistent with your values, please consider contacting a therapist.


Can people really change?
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