Major Life Transitions
Many of my clients are undergoing one or more of a wide variety of major life transitions. These can vary in many ways. Individuals of any age, ethnicity, family status, profession or sex can and do undergo major life transitions. For such people, something foundational in their lives is “in transit”, and they often are going through a profound process of psychological change.
MAJOR LIFE TRANSITIONS ARE HUGELY VARIED
They can include any of the following—and much, much more:
- moving into adulthood, or into a new stage of adulthood
- major career-related changes, of all sorts;
- betrayal, infidelity, end of relationship or divorce;
- burnout in career, personal life or caregiver roles;
- changes in health or able-ness;
- large changes in close family relationships;
- moving, relocation or immigration;
- retirement-related issues.
Also, two life stages where many people encounter a very significant change in their lives are (please click on all caps links):
THE PAIN POINTS OF MAJOR LIFE TRANSITIONS
Major life transitions can be extraordinarily painful and disruptive. We feel highly disoriented — very much as if we’ve been completely wrenched out of ordinary life. Everyday life can seem joyless and flavorless. Major life transitions can also very often leave people feeling isolated and alone. We can often feel as if no one in their world really knows (or possibly even cares) what we’re going through.
The particular transition a person is undergoing may make it hard to think about anything else. Or, conversely, we may get stuck in denial, especially if elements of betrayal, crisis or trauma are associated. Simultaneously, an individual may have only limited time to make very important decisions about the future.
BEYOND THE IMPASSE
For people confronting a major life transition, it is often vital to find a way to deal with very powerful feelings. There is often a deep need for self-acceptance, and for coming to terms with life as it is.
We may also need to find a way to move through seemingly insoluble dilemmas, or to make seemingly “impossible to make” decisions. We need somehow to find a way to move back into living.
To those locked in an impasse, a relationship with a depth psychotherapist who is deeply respectful of the individual’s story, and who is a genuinely supportive presence throughout the transition, can be invaluable.