Life Transitions

Life transitions can be gradual, planned or traumatic and out of our control. Adjusting to a changing reality can cause stress and anxiety, especially if the loss is unexpected or major.

In 1999, seventy occupational psychologists met in Blackpool, England, to increase public and professional awareness of the importance of transition psychology.

Some key points were:

  • Transitions are the natural process for humans to respond to trauma and change
  • There are several stages involved in fully adapting to major changes in our lives
  • Injury, death, relationships, jobs, and moving all significantly change our lives
  • Good events as well as bad can radically alter our lives

It takes longer than most people realize to adjust to significant change. This process affects everyone in every culture. Significant life transitions occur 10 to 20 times in most people's lives. Understanding the stages of transition and developing coping skills can minimise the severity of distress.

Examples of coping strategies:

  • Accept change as a normal part of life
  • Learn to express your feelings
  • Give yourself time to adjust
  • Expect to feel insecure and anxious, these are normal feelings and will pass
  • Avoid drugs or alcohol
  • Look after yourself
  • Stay in touch with friends and family
  • Stick to a daily routine

If you are struggling with major life change, talk to a registered professional. Psychoanalysts and professional counsellors can provide support and coping strategies to aid in dealing with significant life transitions.

Specific Techniques


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