Life Transitions or Repeating Patterns

Sometimes you need help with repetitive situations or behavior in your life that just will not seem to move. On the other side of that coin, sometimes life provides us with shocks and changes we would just as soon not have–life changes and transitions that change how you see others, the world, or yourself.

Especially with help, we can grow through these processes, and into more than we were before them.

It can be painfully frustrating and disappointing when a way of life begins to fail—or stays unchanged in a harmful, growth-reducing, or anxiety provoking way. On the other hand, a loss of previous lifestyle can be disorienting, with some temporary loss of identity or meaning. Both situations can lead to regret, grief, resentment, anger, guilt, or shame.

Sometimes life imposes on us more than usual (Life transitions / unwanted changes)

  • Personalities can change, usually moderately (but noticeably), over time.
  • Health crises (or their treatment) can lead to changes in the person with the health problem, other people, or both.
  • The financial or other fortunes of one or more people can change.
  • Major societal events can also be a major source of stressors for individuals and families.
  • The balance in work / home / social life can change, affecting relationships and satisfaction.
  • Children, infidelity, sibling conflicts, or aging parents can cause situations that are hard to accept or resolve.

On the other hand, sometimes we cannot seem to get unstuck and move on with, or into, life:

  • This is sometimes referred to as ‘failure to launch’ (chronic indecision or low motivation due to other emotional or personality factors) but can also be for other reasons–
  • You may know you have repeating anxieties or other emotional conflicts that feel relieved by doing the same thing again and again
    • This can involve Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or other Compulsive or repetitive / Obsessive problems
    • This can involve Substance Use problems
    • This can also involve recurrent relationship themes; not necessarily always a toxic or exploitative relationship, but sometimes yes
  • You may not realize what is wrong and why you cannot move along in your life, but you would like to find out. Hint: usually, repeating problems have some kind of anxiety about ‘avoiding something even worse’ or ‘guarantee of success / fulfillment’ that needs to be discussed professionally.
  • It can feel like you’re on the merry-go-round, but it is not so merry.

Individualized work on managing life changes, stagnation, or compulsive issues often involves:

  • Support for, and fresh thinking about, coping with a life change
  • New thinking and attitudes about repeating thoughts, feelings, and behavior, along with methods for weakening or de-emphasizing them
  • Help with managing anxiety when trying to open up repeating, compulsive, stagnant patterns
  • Managing shock at sudden changes and unanticipated difficulties
  • Making room for new thoughts, feelings, behavior, actions, pursuits
  • Learning to cope with or improve the effectiveness of your responses to events and conditions
  • Grieving changes, time lost, or the loss of a relationship, self-image, physical or mental capacity, activity, or job
  • Cultivating a willingness to discover new things adapt, as well as learning you deserve it
  • Cultivating compassion and forgiveness for yourself and others

There are any number of reasons you can come for individual psychotherapy to manage ongoing troubles, gradual changes, or sudden changes in your life, goals, meaning, satisfaction, and more. If you are in such a situation, you do not have to be stuck in grief or frustration. Decide to do what you can by calling or secure emailing me to arrange a free, 15-minute telephone consultation.

Dr. Chris Michael on growth through life transitions and changes

For more on my therapy style, see here and here. For a page about telehealth / online therapy go here.