Getting Real About Change – How to Approach Life Transitions.

It’s no accident that many of us get a little freaked out about making changes or approaching transitions in our daily lives. The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, a tool used by doctors to gauge stress levels and the probability of stress-related health breakdowns, directly correlates physical health with relatively low amounts of life change.

That said, the avoidance of change can also lead to missing out on awesome opportunities to grow, learn, and experience new things.

How we approach the intimidating business of making life changes can make all the difference in whether the change is exciting and manageable or scary and unwieldy. Here’s some helpful ways to support ourselves when getting ready to leap into new life transitions.

  1. Acknowledge your comfort level with change.

Some of us thrive on uncertainty, while others are very averse to change. Neither of these approaches is any better than the other, but it is helpful for us to know ourselves and identify where we fall on the continuum of feeling comfortable with change. Ask yourself: Are you excited for new changes, or do you typically dread them? How long does it take you to acclimate to new situations? Knowing how you approach change as an individual will help inform how you take care of yourself when the change is taking place.

  1. Identify your thoughts, concerns, and fears.

Give yourself some time to sit with your emotions when considering making life changes. Some parts of you may be very excited for change, while others may be fearful or reluctant. If you can get clear about your reactions, you’ll have a clearer picture about your readiness for change.

Ask yourself: What reactions do you have when thinking about making this change? Do you have conflicting feelings? Do you feel ready, or are there fears that first need to be addressed?

  1. Examine the evidence.

Examining the evidence is a cornerstone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Often, at least some of our fears are based on cognitive distortions (distorted thinking patterns). While it is important to acknowledge and take care of these fears, it is also important to recognize which of our fears have real life “evidence,” and which do not. For example: You might fear going to school to earn a degree later on in life. You might worry that you can’t keep up, or that you won’t be able to juggle working and going to school. When you “examine the evidence,” you note that you did very well in college in your younger years, and enjoy learning. You have experience in your field of study that might even put you ahead of the game. You are generally a disciplined person and very rarely procrastinate or fall behind on scheduled tasks. Thus, the “evidence” indicates that, though the life change might be intimidating, it’s likely that you are up to the challenge.

4. Take small, planful steps towards change.

When we’ve examined our readiness for change and feel it’s time to take a step, we can begin to plan how to get the ball rolling. Some changes can be made immediately (beginning to meditate for 10 minutes a day, making a doctor’s appointment to address a health issue, making a therapy appointment), while others require planning, steps, and attending to our emotions and fears (moving to a new location, saving up to go on a big adventure, leaving a marriage or difficult relationship, changing jobs or careers). Ask yourself: Does this change require planning or a timeline? Do I need time to emotionally prepare to make this change? What is the first step I need to make to begin this transition?

Being intentional, knowing ourselves, and practicing self-compassion and patience are helpful strategies we can implement in the face of life changes and transitions. The stress of change is real, but it can be worked with, so we don’t miss out on the opportunities that life changes have to offer us.

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych To read more, visit


Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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