Life Transitions

Life transitions are normal life changes that occur that have a beginning, turning point and an ending. There are many life transitions that we will experience in our lifetime. These transitions can be:

Positive: e.g. marriage, birth of a baby, job promotion, starting university;
Negative: e.g. loss of job, trouble with in-laws, separation/divorce;
Sudden: e.g. death, personal injury or illness, change in sleep habits;
Planned: e.g. move, vacation, retirement.

The transition itself usually involves a loss that requires letting go of a former belief, role, expectation or relationship, in order to adapt to the reality of the new situation at hand. Depending on the nature of the transition and the degree of support that we have at a given time, a transition can leave us feeling unprepared, overwhelmed, stressed, shocked, angry, or sad. Coping skills are important at this time and include: reliance on a support system, problem-solving, stress management, and a re-organizing of beliefs and perceptions related to the transition.

The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory is a useful tool that can help to indentify the cumulative stress load that an individual may experience in response to life transitions.

At Chrysalis, our therapists can offer support during this time of tremendous change and can help individuals adapt to a new reality in the healthiest way possible.

Suggested readings:

The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments. (2001).  By W. Bridges.  Perseus Publishing.

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes.  (2004).  By W. Bridges.  Da Capo Press.

Managing Transitions: Making The Most of Change (3rd ed.).  (2009).  By W. Bridges. Da Capo Lifelong Books.

The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook.  (2000).  By M. Davis, E. Robbins Eshelman and M. McKay.  Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time.  (1996).  By G. Sheehy and J. Delbourgo (Eds.).  New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Understanding Men’s Passages: Discovering The New Map of Men’s Lives.  (1998).  By G. Sheehy.  Toronto, ON: Random House of Canada, Limited

Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life.  (2006).  By G. Sheehy.  New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness.  (1990).  By J. Kabat-Zinn.  New York, NY.  Bantam Dell.

Learned Optimism:  How to Change Your Mind and Your Life.  (2006).  By M. Seligman.  Toronto, ON: Random House of Canada, Limited.



Chrysalis Psychological
and Counselling Services



Ph: 905-752-6789
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