UK Council for Psychotherapy

UKCP

Accredited Psychotherapist

British Association for
Counselling & Psychotherapy

BACP

Accredited Counsellor

Counselling & Psychotherapy
Central London, Camden, Kings Cross, London NW1
Glen Gibson - Dip. Counselling, MA Psychotherapy, Dip. Psychotherapy
UKCP & mBACP Accredited male Therapist, Counsellor & Psychotherapist

therapy@counselling-london.org.uk 020 7916 1342

Changes & Transitions

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Life Change Therapy, Counselling Central London Psychotherapy, People Change In Life, Change My life, Changing in Life & Managing Change, Life Transition
Changes & Transitions

Some of us are ready for change yet don't know how. Others may struggle to see things through or tend to wait for a crisis. Some of us may believe that change is always bad, the same or worse. Acknowledging the brains neuroplasticity and our ability to envision our future, the counselling for change explores these further.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Sun Tzu

Crisis As An Opportunity What is happening (or not happening) in our life can also be viewed as symptoms pointing to a need for change, or adjusting to a new transition when we can't go on - "business as usual". We may have an identity crisis, be in a life crisis or existential crisis, have a sense of pointlessness, meaninglessness. We may assume that a crisis is negative, because it is painful. However, it may also be a sign that needs paying attention to, an opportunity for change or transformation, which may put us in touch us with our vulnerability, tenderness alongside our will, desire to change, the need to let go of something. Sometimes, in our heart of hearts, we know what we need to change. (For details see Viewing Issues As Symptoms)

Making Opportunities Happen Some of us may wait for opportunities to come along, yet being in touch with our authenticity, sense of presence, making the most of where we are now, what we see in front of us, weighing up whether opportunities are worth our time and effort may also be an important, as may seizing opportunities and making them happen (see also Motivation & Will Power).

Counselling and Psychotherapy in Central London, Camden, Kings Cross - stagnant, stagnation, inertia

Inertia Sometimes we have a clear wakeup call - we are ready for change or are in touch with a wind of change, other times we feel stuck in some sort of inertia and may experience part of our life as stagnant. Staying in our inertia, stuckness or frozen inside can keep us safe. Overwhelmed by something we may experience inertia and procrastinate - be in a state of paralysis, struggle to act - find our momentum. We may feel emotionally blocked as if watching ourself from afar. We may be in a fog and have numbed our feelings as if stuck, lost and drifting or have a sense of boredom, pointing us towards change. Counselling and psychotherapy can explore what else may be happening inside for us that stops change and this may include a sense of neglect, apathy, inertia in our relationship.

Change your thoughts and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale
Psychotherapy Central London, Camden counselling - wind of change, change in life, turning points

Embracing Change Constant change is ever present, unavoidable & is a natural continuous process with no beginning or end, like nature's seasons, situations, people. Our relationships change. Change is a fact at times, yet we may struggle with accepting this, maybe experiencing some stress, fear, anxiety or doubt. Everything is changing all the time and nothing stays still. Change happens anyway, anywhere. Circumstances nudge us to change. Our thoughts, feelings, moods, perceptions & bodies transform throughout our life. We, and the world, are in a constant flux, which requires us to move & respond. Windows of opportunity present themselves, sometimes briefly. We can sometimes sense a wind of change in the air. Sometimes if we don't embrace & flexibly adapt to change, consider changing our approach and strategy, things may become stagnant, we may remain stuck, there can be a cost to our relationships, jobs & creativity. Relaxing into change, enjoying & embracing the process of change may support our resilience, open up more opportunities. We can sometimes embrace change, allow change into our life with small steps, yet at other times change can call upon us to take a leap. How to make tangible changes may be a challenge. It is understandable that some of us get anxious or procrastinate, waiting for change - even wanting it, but not making it happen. Some of us may fear change, not only because our own internal conflicts, but because we fear conflict with others. Knowing how to change, can be one challenge, turning towards change and doing it - another. We may have our own personal stumbling blocks, obstacles, reluctances. As we change, often others around us change in order to accommodate. Being in touch with our free spirit, yet accepting what we can't change may be important to us. (See also Freeing The Will)

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Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Wanting To Change Others We may want to change our partner, or others, control them, yet often, as we change, we become a catalyst for others to do so, yet cannot expect others to change, see & do things our way, owning our own helplessness over this. Giving others the space to explore their own way, embracing alternative ways of seeing, doing things, may support us and also them.

How Our Past May Impact Upon Change We may not have been able to change things when younger, because we didn't have the tools, resources. Some may discover that we want to completely change whole aspects of life, maybe our relationship, work, lifestyle, because we recognise we have been living from a wounded part of our self, which no longer helps us. Mourning our losses, grieving these, may also facilitate change, transformation.

Central London, Camden counselling, psychotherapy and wind of change

Wind Of Change Moments, opportunities can present themselves where unexpected pointers arrive in our life, nudging us, as if from nowhere, or have been around for many a moon and maybe we weren't conscious of them. As if life calls upon us to respond, sometimes it can be as if a wind of change has blown our way, offer us fresh possibilities (see also Consciousness In & Beyond Us). It may be experienced as a storm, needing us to ride it out, or a gentle whispering, subtle breeze. These winds of change may test our courage, mental, emotional and spiritual skills, and we can have choice to embrace these winds - working with them, adjust our sails, and set forth, with its momentum towards change. And in these moments, when we are ready to catch these winds of change, believing them and feeling them (see also Life Transformation, Alchemy)it can seen like we are intuitively in the zone, and maybe sense an interconnectedness and feel more alive, as if the time is right for us. Sometimes our consistency maybe called for, other times - our initiative & spontaneity. On other occasions it may be important not to work on change, reflect, allowing for something else to emerge (see also Healthy Side Of Doubt). Change happens, and these changes can be perceived as positive, negative or simply part of life. We can sometimes be faced with the choice of doing what we've always done or changing this - choosing to do something different, changing our behaviour, helped by building & maintaining supportive habits. What change & choice means to us, and how we respond to it, the nature of our free will and relationship to fatalism, determinism, indeterminism and randomness, karma can be included in the counselling & psychotherapy.

Whatever begins, also ends. Seneca

Wakeup Call Life or discontentment at times can give us a wakeup call to face what we need to face and the therapy can support us in exploring this process.

The counselling for change explores whether the change we require is about external change - what's happening outside of us or internal change, from the inside out - how do we need to change ourselves, the way we think, behave, etc., is our heart open, exploration of being a different kind of self - being the person we want to be, and our capacity to change.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. Carl Jung

Capacity To Change Alongside our sense of coherence, inner continuity and biology, we may want to develop the person we want to be, evolve as a person, change who and how we are (see also Navigating Between Being & Doing), our future. Throughout our life we are constantly learning through our actions, which helps create our self. Our brain creates neural pathways, associations, connections and as we change the way we think this opens up new pathways, new potential futures.

sands of change, managing change, adaptation, transformation, new phase in life transition - psychotherapy and counselling in London, Camden, Kings Cross

Internal Reactions To Change We are all creatures of habit and many of us don't like change, feeling uncomfortable with it, worry about it, yet as we change, we evolve. This may also include facets of our personality. Our brains can be wired for things to stay the same or safe, especially if we feel comfortable with the familiar. We may start worrying to stop bad things happening. The prospect of change may be stressful, evoking fear, anxiety, and can evoke our flight, flight, freeze reactions, panic attacks or we may have a sense of impending doom. We may feel lost, stuck and procrastinate. The sands of life shift (see also Uncertainty). Taking fresh steps, choosing to take the less familiar, long way home may be a consideration, as may learning to adapt, be flexible and stay open to change, being realistic about what is possible, patient and compassionate, alongside being prepared for the unexpected, being part of the change - interacting with it, making the change, being the change (see also Building, Maintaining Supportive Habits, Routines, Patterns), and this can enhance our muscle memory.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi
managing change, adaptation, transformation, new phase in life transition - psychotherapy and counselling in central London, Camden, Kings Cross, Author: Johnny Jet, Title: Crossroads

How Change Tests Us Change in life affects us all, managing change can be challenging. Our resources can get tested as we face new challenges. Sometimes change is forced upon us, because we need to response to a crisis, make important choices. Practising change in small & specific steps, can help us, supported by our will. Sometimes we can be comfortable in our life, enjoying things, coasting, doing the things we've always done. We may feel settled, yet uneasy, pointing us towards change. Contemplating change, and making it happen, stretching ourselves by entering into unfamiliar territories, stepping outside our comfort zone and taking risks, may threaten our sense of safety & security. Yet if we don't change or adapt, continue to do things the way we have always done, expect, we may become stuck, stagnant or unable to grow. Sometimes we can reach a crossroads or turning point, are faced with choices. Our attitude to change may be important as we become more positive, confidently crate possibilities, take decisions and actions. What we tell ourselves may also be explored (e.g. we may believe if we change, this doesn't make us real, so we may struggle to experiment with other ways of being), as well as our challenge to be real. Fear of failure or success can prevent us changing. We are creatures of habit & routine, yet some of our routines may be hindering us. So some, usually familiar changes - the ones we tend to anticipate & expect, can be easier to manage, than the unpredictable, unexpected or unfamiliar changes - ones we can't plan or anticipate. Such questions as "Where am I in my life?", "Why am I here?" and "What do I really want?" can bring us up against important existential concerns. Change can affect us, testing our deepest sense of who we are - our centre, as we give up what is familiar & plunge into what is unknown. As we let go of old ways of being, redundant thoughts, beliefs, habits, codependency, our rhythm & flow of life may be disturbed. When we are in transition, we are often between stages and identities, and we can become disorientated, uncertain or more vulnerable because we are leaving behind the familiar. It may also be that our vulnerability can be our catalyst for change, creativity. For some, it may be painful to let go of friendships, which no longer serve or support us. Our flexible healthy boundaries, resilience & hardiness can support us with changes. The effects of change - in our own hands, accountability & our own responsibility can challenge our confidence. The therapy offers support in taking positive control of our behaviours, mastering them. Counselling & psychotherapy also acknowledges the role of the unconscious. For example: outwardly we may want to change, yet inwardly something may stop us and the counselling & psychotherapy can explore this alongside how we can get more comfortable with change - embracing it into our lives, so it also energises us, provides opportunities, exploring what changes we will need to make.

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. Carl Rogers

Change - Our Challenges The way we think about what we want can influence the outcome, so stating something positive in what we want right now can support change alongside other factors. Coming up against change we may be faced with certain challenges:

  • How we respond to the part of us who is invested in not changing (see also Chasm)
  • Why are we making the change (e.g. what is our purpose for change)?
  • What are the advantages & disadvantages of making changes (e.g. spending less time on other tasks)?
  • Does this change reflect who we are, our identity?
  • What's regressive, what's progressive
  • Does this change match our values & beliefs?
  • What to change (what do we specifically want to happen, e.g. our behaviour)?
  • What is the worthwhileness of what we want to do (e.g. is it worth this effort)?
  • How to change (e.g. our beliefs)?
  • What are our capabilities & skills?
  • How do we need any others to be involved, do we need any external services, equipment?
  • What is the context for change (e.g. where & when do we want this change, what area of our life will it affect)? Where to change (e.g. what specific circumstances, areas in our life)?
  • How clear are we of the outcome (e.g. how will we know when we've achieved what we want, what is the evidence, what will be different, what will have changed, how will we feel)?
  • Is the change we are seeking behavioural (rarely permanent - especially if coming from our wounded self) or authentic? (The energy of which is felt differently when we come from being our own strong loving adult), being in touch with our (loving) intention, taking responsibility for our feelings rather than trying to control others.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou
managing change in life adaptation and transformation, new phase in life, people change in life, life transition- life change therapy, psychotherapy and counselling in central London, Camden

Life Transitions Life is transient and when our life is in transition, memories of previous transitions often occur. Transitions are the time of uncertainty loss & of letting go. Endings, loss and grief reignite previous ones. Sometimes the temporariness of situations and of life are realised (see also Life Transition & Existential Concerns) and this can be a positive force for change. Staying present, being in the moment may support us.

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Time For Renewal Life is full of many stages & we learn to adapt & transform through each new phase. It may be our time to create space & quiet time, take pauses, observe, reflect, do something differently, connect & share with others. The time might be right to renew the way we have been, freshening our emotions, mind & consciousness, so we are able to adapt to a new phase or path in life, not always sure where this takes us. This may or may not also point to our existential struggles or re-examining our own meaning, purpose and direction. And new perspectives may emerge as we open the space in our mind, where we embrace the flow of life's inevitable change.

If you want things to be different, perhaps the answer is to become different yourself. Norman Vincent Peale
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Life Transformation, Alchemy On the one hand, our belief in the alchemy of change, transformation, could be seen as mysterious, magical thinking, yet on the other hand something important, not quite tangible or logical may be emerging for us, as we transform our energies - even through setbacks as we recognise the value of everything, focusing on the pure gold within. Some of us may be at an important turning point, where the ingredients of our life come together, acting as a catalyst, simmering away, and are brought to the boil (see also Wind Of Change). The issues & concerns we have (some may be of an existential nature), important though they are, may also be seen as symptoms, carrying messages or experienced as a force of energy, the momentum of which may be pointing towards something (often unconsciously) on the cusp of changing for us. New perspectives may emerge as we transform any limiting beliefs, concrete thinking. Counselling & psychotherapy considers not only our immediate concerns, blind spots but also our imagination, what else might be happening & emerging, transforming for us, pointing to our growth, so we can become who we want to be. And as we transform, so too may our relationship. Some may have likened this moment of readiness to change as similar to an alchemical process, as if things align between personal energy and universal energy (see also Physical Wellbeing - Body Vitality & Breathing), crystallising something apparently worthless into something precious, powerful, important, yet unknown. In this space our concept of time may bend and we may sense an interconnectedness between our past, present & future. How we experience our senses & reality may be different. These important moments, transformations, through the readiness of time, like nature rejuvenating itself, through its seasons (for example winters' gestations, springs' renewal, summers' growth, autumns' harvest and the return of winter), darkness (see also Inconsolable, Dark Night Of The Soul) & light, from losses & little deaths (in the form of disappointments, partings, separations (see also Overcoming Fear Of Rejection, Fear Of Loss, Abandonment Issues), endings, each evening and sunset, the ending of a day, each exhalation & transition), deaths - literal & non-literal, may also point towards renewal, births & rebirths occurring and regenerating throughout our life (see also Grieving To Let Go). Opening to these unknown or even chaotic roads, having the courage to include & allow this chaos (and our suffering, shadow), remaining centred & grounded, holding our grace, may be an important, vital part of our alchemical journey towards change, insight and transforming our life, our physical, emotional (e.g. transforming certain emotions - anger, frustration, irritation, shame), psychological, sexual (see also Union) or spiritual energies into creative forms (e.g. stress into excitement or calmness, frustration towards positive action) and developing limitless fresh possibilities, may now matter to us as may being open to the potential of love in its many forms to be a catalyst for transformation. A letting go of something in order for something else to emerge, transform, may be relevant to us. As we learn to mourn our losses, grieve, let go (supported by our transforming perceptions & attitude), we can take charge of our own script, relationship style & sense of identity, develop supportive habits, and a new phase of life may emerge. For some, this transformation may be about living in the permanent tension between being authentic and inauthentic, changing what we are doing for the highest good, utilising our free will, journeying into our beliefs and thoughts, surrendering, allowing for something new to emerge, opening our heart, which for others may lead to spiritual enquiry. When given space, love itself, when we tune into it, can be transformational, healing and the therapy can be a containing space to explore these movements, moments where we change & transform, expanding, integrating, yet consolidate and stay the same.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. Joseph Campbell

Life Change Therapy, Counselling London, Kings Cross in Camden, people change in life, managing change, life transition, changing in life

The ability to manage & embrace change can be assisted by:

  • Acknowledging that change is inevitable
  • Acknowledging that change can be good or positive & lead to growth
  • Accepting that change sometimes won't be easy or painless
  • Acknowledging and embracing sacrifices, challenges & letting go
  • Acknowledging that there may be a part of us which doesn't want to change or sabotage change
  • Managing our anxiety & internal conflicts
  • Accepting that many things are not predictable, accepting the unknown, uncertainty
  • Responding to the unforeseen, life's confusions, dilemmas, ambiguities, double-binds, paradox
  • Tolerating uncomfortable feelings
  • Viewing problems & crises also as opportunities
  • Being in touch with our intention to change
  • Distinguishing between "could", "should" & "will"
  • Defining why we really want this change
  • Being clear what it is we want & what needs to change
  • Changing simple routines or habits (can be good training to cope with the unexpected, unfamiliar or uncontrollable)
  • Keeping some routine, giving us a sense of stability & security, providing support for us during unexpected changes
  • Finding a balance (centred) between the habits & routines we keep and those we can let go of
  • Acknowledging our basic abilities to adapt
  • Acknowledging our limitations & willingness to take risks
  • Being inquisitive, open about change, wondering & being curious what the challenge of change might mean for us & what needs to be transformed
  • Being willing to move physically, emotionally & psychologically
  • Checking that the direction we head in, is getting us where we want to be
  • Stepping through our defences when we need to
  • Having an adaptable, creative way of thinking
  • Having tools to face & overcome the challenges of change
  • Having our own plan, goals (taking one change at a time), looking to the next steps, timescale
  • Monitoring & measuring our progress
  • Working out what will support, sustain the change
  • Being able to see a bigger picture
  • Accepting what is in our control, and what isn't
  • Accepting "what is" & that some things can't be changed
  • Being clear about what will not change in us, e.g. our values - knowing what we value
  • Knowing what's really important for us in the world, what we appreciate
  • Connecting to what matters & our own purpose
  • Being mindful
  • Being with positive, supportive people
  • Optimising our health, lifestyle
  • Looking after ourself, taking rest
It isn't strange after changes upon changes we are more or less the same,
after changes we are more or less the same.
Paul Simon

Clarifying What It Is That Needs To Change Clarifying and setting our intention on changing what we want to change may be important. It may include our:

Counselling Questions You may have questions about change in life, transition in life, e.g.:

  • Change of life - are changes in life difficult?
  • I want to change my life - is changing in life possible?
  • Managing change - how to manage change?
  • Life transition - how can I make a smooth transition in life?
  • Transformation or change - I'm in some sort of life transformation, how can I manage my confusion?
  • I want to change my life - how can I make responding to change easy?
  • I'm at a crossroads in life - which way should I go down?
  • Why do people change?
  • Can a person change?
  • How do people change?
  • Can people really change?
  • How do you change yourself?
  • Can people change who they are?

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