When Life’s Transitions Are Too Much: Do You Need Counseling?

Life has a way of throwing things at you, sometimes when you are least equipped to handle them. While this happens to just about everyone at some point, when these transitions create problems or a pause in life, you may need outside help in getting through them and that's okay. People need to heal and adjust at their own pace and through different means.

1. What Are The Major Transitions?

Any major change in your life leads to a transitional period, as you adapt to the new situation left in the wake of change. Anything you're having difficulty going through can be considered a transitional challenge, although there are the common transitions most people encounter at some point in their lives:

  • Dealing with the loss of a loved one.
  • A child moving out of the home and on their own.
  • Having to change your career path.
  • Retiring.
  • Divorce.
  • Moving to a new city or town.
  • Menopause and midlife.
  • Having to care for a parent or partner.

A transition, ultimately, is a big change to your life and can even be a positive one. Something that throws you for such a loop may make it hard to cope. 

2. How Do Most People Handle Them?

While some may look at these transitions as just a part of any normal life, others look at them as enormous mountains they're not sure if they can climb. People view and handle things differently, depending on many variables, such as upbringing and genetics. In general, most people push their way forward in life, trying their best to adapt to the changes the face, no matter what it takes out of them.

3. How Do You Know You're Not Handling Them?

There's a difference between feeling like you're not handling a transition well and your life being negatively affected by the changes, but both should be addressed. If you're always overwhelmed and distracted by the major event that's occurred in your life, that's something you should deal with; likewise, if your life is being interrupted by the transition, such as with depression, avoidance, poor eating and sleeping or otherwise not taking care of yourself and being able to enjoy life, you probably need some help getting through this.

4. How Can Counseling Help?

Life transition counseling professionals are experienced in helping people overcome the obstacles that life hands them. You might enter group therapy, such as for anxiety, which helps you understand that you're not alone, that you can relate to others and learn from each other or you could be a candidate for individual counseling, where a therapist helps you identify the reasons you're having trouble moving on from a transition, so you can get to the heart of the problem and address it. If the change you're going through involves others in your family, the counseling can reflect that, by including them and guiding all of you through the challenges and changes.

Talking with a therapist is the first step in moving forward and should put you on the right path in terms of taking care of yourself, coping with the stress, managing the pain and learning to look forward again.

5. Where Is The "Light At The End Of The Tunnel"?

Depending on the changes going through and how deeply they're impacting you, it may take a while to feel better, even with counseling. Although many people begin to feel a sense of relief as soon as they start talking to a professional, you could require a few more sessions and that's okay. The important thing is that you recognize something isn't right and start being proactive about making it better.

Don't be shy and don't feel ashamed about how you're dealing with life; the sooner you seek help, the sooner you'll begin to feel better and everyone deserves that.