Whether you are experiencing a difficult ending, facing a new beginning or feeling stuck somewhere in between, life might seem overwhelming and uncertain. You may feel shocked, numb, lonely and confused about all of the conflicting emotions swirling inside you. Perhaps a positive, wanted life transition seems challenging and disorienting, and you worry that you’re not reacting “correctly.” Or, maybe an unexpected change has upended your life, making you question everything you thought you knew about yourself and the world. Regardless of the specifics, you may be grieving the past and wondering how to embrace the future.
Everyone experiences some kind of life transition at one point or another. For some people, that change takes the shape of a painful break-up, the end of a job or the loss of a loved one. For others, a sudden injury, diagnosis or natural disaster forces a profound life change. It’s also common to find yourself at a crossroads you always knew lay ahead, but still feel unprepared and heartbroken when the change becomes reality. For example, you may have dedicated decades to a professional sports career, but now it’s time to retire, and you no longer know who you are or how you should spend your days.
It’s also common to feel lost after a positive life change, such as a marriage, the birth of a new child, a commitment to sobriety or the start of a new career. Even something you hoped and planned for can be difficult to navigate. It’s okay to question whether you’ve made the right choice and to feel some longing for life as it was before.
And, if you have not yet experienced a transition but feel a nagging dissatisfaction, you are far from alone. So many people feel caught in a state of ambivalence, torn between the strong desire to change and the strong desire to keep things as they are. Life is full of endings and beginnings, but committing and adapting to change still feels terrifying, especially if we don’t quite know what we want.
No matter what turning point you find yourself facing, it’s important to find space to grieve the past, discover clarity in the present and embrace all the possibilities of the future. Therapy can help you tap into your inner resilience and feel empowered to step into the next chapter of your life.
Counseling can help see you through life’s beginnings and endings, offering you the support and skills you need to stop feeling stuck, no matter what challenges seem to be standing in your way. We are skilled, empathetic therapists who firmly believe that you already have the answers you need. In sessions, we will collaborate with you, helping you clear through all the clatter of outside opinions so you can embrace your authentic self. Then, you can feel equipped to create a fulfilling life.
During life transitions counseling, we will help you take stock of where you’ve been and where you are now. Whether personal, professional or a little bit of both, the roles you’ve inhabited offered some sense of meaning and purpose. As you approach a new life stage, we can work together to distill what meaning and purpose look like for you. Then, we can explore and identify steps you can take to find a new role that honors your inner values and aligns with your deepest wants.
As we work together, we can also take time to identify the emotions that may be blocking you from making life changes. For example, sometimes trauma, whether long-buried or relatively fresh, can make it seem impossible to embrace the change we need to embrace. I provide a safe, compassionate atmosphere where you can express how you really feel without fear of judgment. Awareness and acceptance are where healing begins, and with help, you can productively release the pain of the past and come to recognize the strengths you’ve developed throughout your life.
Finding direction in life is possible. With help, you can stop feeling so certain about what change might bring and foster curiosity, openness and flexibility. You can rediscover the sense of awe that can make change so exciting and gain a new perspective on who you are and what your life can be. Whatever transition you’re in the midst of, it is possible to find self-assurance and satisfaction on the other side.
Consider how you might seek help in other areas of your life. For example, when your car breaks down, do you go to a mechanic? When you break a bone, do you visit a doctor?
Seeking the guidance and support of a therapist is no different. Making life changes is hard, and there’s nothing wrong with working with someone who can offer new perspectives and insights that can help you through it.
Ambivalence, or the experience of holding two strong, opposing emotions at the same time, can be paralyzing. For example, you might feel as though you need to leave your job or your relationship, but then wonder if you should just be happy with “good enough.”
Life transitions counseling can help you identify that ambivalence and work through it. You can figure out what is holding you back and gain the self-compassion and self-confidence needed to believe that you do deserve something better. You do deserve to have the career, relationship or whatever else that aligns with who you really are.
In his book Emotional Equations, Chip Conley presents this equation: “Anxiety = Powerlessness x Uncertainty.” In other words, if you are feeling fearful about adapting to change, you likely feel certain that you just can’t handle all of the unknowns that lie ahead.
In therapy, we will guide you to learn more about who you are, helping you reduce that uncertainty and gain a sense of assurance. You have agency and resilience, and deep down, you already know what you want. You already know what you need to do. Working together, we can help you turn those closely-held dreams into reality.