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Module 11. Relapse prevention

You’ve got this far – well done. Think about what you’ve achieved so far. 

You came here because you wanted to address your problem

You’ve learnt a lot about yourself and your behaviour

You’ve challenged unhelpful thoughts and feelings


This module will:

  • help you to avoid repeating previous inappropriate behaviour or thoughts
  • keep you moving forward positively


Developing a risk prevention/management plan

One of the biggest problems in managing risk is what happens next. It is not sufficient to understand your behaviour and make changes. It is maintaining the momentum for change after the intensive work has been done. The essence of a risk prevention and management plan is anticipating and avoiding risk situations and making plans to fall back on.

You should by now have learned a lot about your unhelpful patterns of behaviour and be able to spot your thinking errors and the early warning signs of your cycle of problematic behaviour. Having a risk prevention and management plan which contains information about these elements and how to manage risky situations will assist in preventing lapse and relapse.

  • A lapse is when you slide back into the beginning of the cycle without actually engaging in the abusive behaviour and/or offending. An example would be having inappropriate thoughts which you masturbate to.
  • A relapse is an actual recurrence of the problematic behaviour which in some cases might also be an offence. 

We have already identified interventions which can assist in risk management. Having an actual strategy involves bringing what you know about your behaviour and these interventions together to produce a coherent plan that you can refer to which will help in both maintaining healthy behaviours and during the occasions when you may lapse.


What to include in your plan



Maintaining change

In order to maintain change it is important to regularly review your risk prevention and management plan. Risk is dynamic - it changes and is influenced by many factors. Being alert to changes in your situation, thinking and behaviour is essential.

Keeping a diary or journal is an effective way of observing and monitoring your responses to different situations, thoughts and feelings and will help you to identify patterns of behaviour early on. Examples of diaries which can be used are those that focus on thoughts and feelings - which help identify thinking errors, patterns and negative responses and those that focus on behaviours.

If you want to discuss anything covered in this module, have struggled with working through the self-help material or just want the opportunity to work through the self-help site with a practitioner to guide you then please call the Stop It Now! Helpline for confidential support from our trained staff.


Continue to Module 12: Building a good life