Has Something Drastically Changed In Your Life?

DENISE A_LifeTransitionsForWomen_FallAre you feeling lost in the midst of a major life change? Perhaps you’re trying to adjust to a medical diagnosis, menopause, postpartum depression, a divorce, a move, or a career change? Do you have feelings of sadness about the death of a loved one, or are you experiencing the pain of an empty nest? Maybe this change took you by surprise, and you feel angry and unprepared to deal with it, maybe even helpless. Or, perhaps you’re going through what is often considered a positive life change, such as a promotion at work, a new baby or retirement, and you feel guilty and confused about your unhappiness. Do you feel alone in this experience or overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy? Do you wish you felt confident in your ability to manage your new situation, more prepared for the future and better able to create a happy, fulfilling life?

Going through a major life change can be a lonely, confusing and troubling experience. The uncertainty that comes with a new role can elicit heavy feelings of stress and sadness. You may wake up every morning wondering how you’ll make it through the day, and when you see other people who have something you’ve lost, you struggle to hold back your tears. As you feel increasingly alone in these emotions, it may be that, more and more, talking to friends and family doesn’t seem to help. You may even worry that your unhappiness burdens them. These feelings can also affect your sleep and eating patterns, as well as generate draining thoughts that keep you persistently withdrawn, making it difficult to find meaning and purpose in life.

Everyone Experiences Stress During a Major Life Change

If you are struggling to navigate change, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 19 million Americans live with symptoms of depression. When you’re faced with new responsibilities or the loss of someone dear to you, it’s normal to worry and wonder about how to perform in your new role. You may find yourself ruminating on the life you once had or doubting that you can cope with the changes you’re experiencing. Even changes that are supposed to be good, like having a child or retiring, can be difficult because they bring a new lifestyle that is unfamiliar to you. We all fall into routines throughout our lives, and major changes can throw everything out of sync, including your sense of self. Even if you believe that this change is for the best, it can still cause feelings of regret, inadequacy and debilitating stress.

Furthermore, our culture has unwritten rules and stigmas about how we should feel when we grieve. When your emotions don’t match that expectation, you may even begin to think the cause is a rudimentary flaw within yourself. If you are feeling this way, you don’t have to go through this transition alone. Life transitions counseling can help you work through difficult feelings, find effective solutions to challenges, and discover opportunities for profound growth and self-discovery.

Life Transitions Counseling Can Help You Adapt With More Ease

DENISE A_LifeTransitionsForWomen_WinterWomen who’ve experienced a life transition often find that counseling helps them to evaluate what they are going through, and to acknowledge and honor their losses. They often even begin to recognize new possibilities exist for their future. Many people wonder what the process of counseling will be like. While counseling is an individualized experience, there are some common factors. Most sessions include some of the following: you and I will explore how you think about yourself and the world around you. For example, if you’re feeling inadequate or fear that you don’t have what it takes to function well, we can explore these thoughts and feelings and the origin of them. Looking objectively at your thoughts and feelings can help you make a decision about whether they are helping or hindering your adjustment. Next, we may look at your support system. Is it strong and healthy? A vibrant support system is a significant factor in recovery and growth. Developing and maintaining a strong support system will enable you to utilize your inherent resilience and strength. Regardless of what you are going through, I can help you find lasting relief.

Everyone handles change differently, which is why I tailor the direction of our work to best address and support your unique situation, history, personality, needs and therapy goals. In a safe, non-judgmental environment, we can look at what’s bothering you with compassionate eyes and work toward effective solutions. I will listen carefully to your concerns, but therapy is about more than good listening. Good therapy is also solution-oriented. I believe in identifying and building on your inherent strengths so that I can help you consider your circumstances in more positive ways. I can also help you learn some tools to help you function more effectively in your everyday life. These tools might include learning some relaxation methods to use in stressful situations or developing new ways to communicate that allow you to effectively express your needs. Together, we can create hope for a new future and consider practical steps for moving forward into the life you want. With the guidance of an empathic therapist, you can reconnect with your support system, improve your self-care and transform emotions and beliefs that are keeping you stuck.

I have over 30 years of professional experience helping women process grief and loss and navigate major life transitions. I, myself, have also faced challenges, including how to function well as a single parent and how to cope with a cancer diagnosis. I know what you’re going through, and I’m here to help you utilize your inherent strength to attain a fresh view of what is possible for you and your future.

Are you ready to seek some help, but you still have some questions or concerns about counseling?

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Below are some common questions.

If I go to counseling, does that mean I have to re-experience my pain?

Although we will focus primarily on helping you successfully adapt to your new situation, during our conversations, other issues may come up. In order to understand why you’re so stressed about this transition, we may venture back to old relationships or experiences that have contributed to your present feelings of nervousness or inadequacy. Exploring some of these issues may surface some hurt. With my help, however, you can work through this pain instead of getting stuck in it, and experience true transformation in your life. Experiencing grief after a significant life change is a normal occurrence. But you do not have to stay stuck in that grief. In therapy, you can find the time and space to attend to your needs and to understand and utilize effective tools to process your pain so that it no longer limits your life.

I’m grieving the loss of a loved one. Does processing that pain mean I have to forget that person?

I understand that you will never be able to forget about someone close to you, and that’s absolutely not the goal of therapy. What counseling offers is the opportunity to separate the pain you feel from the person you’ve lost, allowing you to honor and enjoy his or her memory while you move forward. Healing is possible.

Even with life transitions counseling, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to feel comfortable with what has changed.

With the right approach and the support of an experienced life transition counselor, you can feel empowered and prepared to move forward. Many times, feelings of inadequacy or worry are the direct result of not feeling safe in your environment or relationships. Therapy provides an accepting, supportive space for you to work through your current challenges.

Think of it like this. If your car gets stuck in the snow, it’s nearly impossible to push it out on your own. However, with help, moving the car becomes possible. I can provide you with that help and support. With a safe, authentic therapeutic experience, you can explore and ultimately shift your fears into productive and empowering self-reflections and actions.

Don’t Be Afraid To Take The Next Step

If you’re interested in life transitions counseling for women in Bettendorf, IA, please call (563) 213-5100 for a free 30-minute phone consultation. I am happy to discuss any questions you have about my practice or how therapy can address your needs.