Graduations and Grieving Life Changes

It’s that time of year when we are witnessing the graduations from High School or College which mark a major accomplishment.  Congratulations to all!  It also often brings up a mixed bag of emotions as the loved ones of the graduate, as well as the graduate themselves, face major changes.  The celebration often has a sadness as well as about that phase of their life ending as they move into the next phase.  These are all normal feelings!  It’s important for us to allow ourselves to feel them, acknowledge them and work it thru.  I have the pleasure of being part of these changes as a therapist for the graduate or the parents/family/loved ones of the graduate.  The graduate is filled with excitement and often some anxiety about  what the next phase of their life is going to be like.  The family and parents of the graduate are more often filled with some sadness that, if they have done their job as parents well, their child is preparing to launch (either to college or out on their own).  Every change in life marks an ending of some things and beginnings of other things.  Change is often difficult for people to work through and is probably the most common thing that brings people in for counseling or therapy.  The book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D. is a great, quick read about how people handle change.  Some people work through change by talking about it, some people retreat to their cave to work it out on their own and some people just pretend it’s not happening.  The first two options generally work and is a reflection of their personal style.  It’s important to respect that each person has their own way and it’s not right or wrong, just different maybe than my own way of handling change.  The third way (i.e. pretending it’s not happening) really isn’t a way of handling change and often will cause problems later on when the reality suddenly sets in, they can’t deny it any longer and it feels like they just got blindsided or “hit up side of the head!”  So, stay present, allow yourself to feel the feelings and work thru the changes by using your coping skills.  Work towards embracing change as a natural and normal part of life.  If you find yourself struggling, reach out for a little helping hand – we all need that sometimes – and give me a call or schedule an appointment thru my on-line client portal!

Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)



©2014 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, CEDS, CCTP, EMDR, BCPC, RD

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