Ambivalence is a regular occurrence in someone with an eating disorder and any talk that may hint at change can be quickly swapped with talk that retains the status quo.  You may hear regular intention to change but none of them indicate that this change will actually happen.  E.g. I must stick with my meal plan this week does not necessarily mean that this will occur.  

Readiness is based on several things:

Desire to want to change, 

Ability/skills needed for change, 

Reasons to change, 

Need to change

Whilst preparatory change talk and potential readiness reflects the pro-side of ambivalence, mobilizing change talk moves more towards actions in favour of change, i.e. Commitment/Activation/Taking steps to change.

Desire:     I really would like to get my life back together again.  The process is just so frightening.     

Ability:    I’d really like to go to Matt’s wedding next weekend.  I just don’t know how I keep the anxiety in check.

Reason:   This is when Edi verbalizes own reasons as to why change might be helpful.  E.g. Going to university/having children/going off travelling.  This type of talk neither implies desire or ability.

Need:   This type of talk represents urgency or importance for change.  E.g.  I need to do this….  I must….., I can’t keep carrying on like this…..


Commitment talk:   signals the likelihood of action taking place in the near future, e.g. I want to call my GP in the morning and ask for an appointment to talk with her about this.  I seriously need to consider going back into hospital to fight this thing.

Activation:  when the person suggests they are moving towards action, e.g. I’m ready to go back into hospital.   I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to recover this time once and for all.

Taking Steps indicates that the first signs of action have been completed, e.g. I called my doctor yesterday and I have an appointment with the Eating Disorder team next week; I’ve asked my husband to sit with me every mealtime and we’ve already come up with a list of distractions that may help me feel less anxious.