Coping and Adjusting to Change~Life Transitions


Adjusting to change can be difficult, as even positive life transitions tend to cause some stress. Over the course of a lifetime, a person can expect to experience a significant amount of change. Some of these changes, such as marriages, births, and new jobs, are generally positive, although they may be accompanied by their own unique stressors. Other major life transitions, such as moving, addiction recovery, or entering the “empty nest” phase of life may cause a significant amount of stress. Those who find themselves experiencing difficulty coping with life transitions may find it helpful a counsellor in order to become better able to adjust to changes they cannot control.


How Can Change Be Beneficial?

Certain changes, such as entering school, starting a new job, or starting a family, can often be exciting, even when they cause some amount of stress, because they are generally considered to be positive changes. Many people look forward to obtaining a degree, rising in their chosen field, or having a home and family.Bottom of Form Changes, and especially difficult changes, can influence personal growth, and dealing with a change successfully may leave one stronger, more confident, and better prepared for what comes next in life. In other words, even those changes that are neither expected nor wanted might still produce some beneficial outcome. 


Change can encourage the development of skills or knowledge, and might also bring about greater awareness of a condition or group. For example, the family of a person diagnosed with schizophrenia might become more aware of severe mental health conditions and their effects. Or the parents of a child who comes out as gay might become interested in LGBTQIA issues and equal rights and work to increase awareness. Change can also make clear what is important in one's life and allow for greater self-discovery and self-awareness.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory


In 1967, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a social readjustment rating scale that was designed to roughly approximate a person’s likelihood of future illness based on his or her stress level. The scale is a list of common stressful events, both positive and negative, all of which are assigned a numerical value of “life-changing units.” For example, marriage, the basis for comparison, was assigned 50 life-changing units. Some other events on the scale include the death of a spouse, which has a value of 100 life-changing units, being fired (47), and revision of personal habits or attitudes (24).


The scale was developed and validated by male subjects, but data from both male and female subjects in cross-cultural populations has provided fairly useful results and has shown correlations between stressful events and health concerns such as heart attacks, pregnancy complications, diabetes, and broken bones, as well as non-medical difficulties such as poor performance in school or work.

Because responses to stress can vary greatly between individuals, the scale is meant to be only an estimation of the ways that stress can affect life, not a predicting tool.


Coping with Change


Because change can cause stress, it can have an effect on one's daily life. A person facing a big change might, for example, experience depression, anxiety, or fatigue; have headaches; develop trouble sleeping or eating well; or abuse drugs and alcohol. Persistent symptoms of stress might improve with treatment in therapy, but an individual may also be able to prevent some of these symptoms by:

  • Researching an upcoming change- Often, stress can develop out of fear of what is unknown. When one is well-informed about a change, it may be easier to face.

  •  Attending to one's physical and mental health- Being healthy in mind and body may make it easier to cope with changes in life. Sleeping well, exercising, and eating nutritional foods regularly may all be beneficial in improving both physical and mental health.

  •  Taking time to relax- Remaining calm in spite of stress may be easier when one's life is well-adjusted and includes time for leisure as well as work.

  • Limiting change- It may be helpful to avoid making a large change immediately after another change. Generally, adjusting to a change takes some time, and making multiple changes at once, even smaller ones, may not allow enough time for an adequate adjustment period, which can cause stress.

  •  Discussing any difficulties adapting with another person- Family members may be able to help one adjust to change, but professional help may also benefit those experiencing difficulty or stress as a result of life changes.


Adjustment Disorder


A diagnosis of adjustment disorder can occur when a major life stress or change disrupts normal coping mechanisms and makes it difficult or impossible for a person to cope with new circumstances. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, symptoms of this condition tend to begin within three months of the stress or change and often include a depressed or anxious mood, changes in daily habits, feelings of overwhelming stress and panic, difficulty enjoying activities, and changes in sleeping or eating. For example, a man whose wife died suddenly might become anxious and panicked as he tries to cope with his new situation, finding it difficult to go on his typical daily walks or prepare meals. This condition may also lead an individual to engage in reckless or dangerous behavior, avoid family and friends, or have thoughts of suicide or drug or alcohol use problem. A diagnosed adjustment disorder generally indicates that a person is experiencing more emotional turmoil than others facing the same situation might experience. For example, a young woman who cries frequently after the death of her mother is likely experiencing distress typical to the major life change she has experienced, but a man who quits his job and stops speaking to his children after the death of his wife might be experiencing a significant amount of difficulty adjusting to his changed situation.


Therapy for Change


There is no particular treatment for adjusting to change, but several different tactics may be helpful. Talking about changes in life with a therapist, such as a marriage, the death of a family member, the loss of a job, or the approach of middle age or a situation involving addiction recovery, can be helpful to some. Any type of therapy is likely to be well suited to helping a person cope with dramatic changes in life. When life changes prove difficult and lead to stress, anxiety, or depression, a therapist or counsellor can also help treat those issues and help one explore coping strategies. When people know that they do not cope well with change, speaking with a therapist or counsellor before any significant changes in life occur may be warranted. In this way, one can prepare for changes and become better able to face them in the future, even without prior knowledge of potential changes. Support groups and group therapy sessions also might benefit some individuals who have experienced a particular type of change, such as a life-altering illness, relapse problem or disability or a diver


Anger Management


What is Anger Management?


Anger Management is the process of learning to recognize signs that you're becoming angry, and taking action to calm down and deal with the situation in a positive way. Anger management doesn't try to keep you from feeling anger or encourage you to hold it in.


Why Anger Management Counselling is Necessary?    

Sometimes it may be appropriate to use the services of a professional counsellor or psychotherapist to help with anger issues.  Anger management therapy can be considered as group or one-to-one- session.  A professional will often say that recognising that you have a problem and seeking help is a very positive first step towards solving the issues. Typically, anger management therapy session may last between four to six weeks, although, it may take longer than anticipated.  When looking for a local counsellor it is important to find someone that you think you will be comfortable with. Bear in mind that different professionals may use different techniques to help overcome you anger issues.


It is important for your psychotherapist or counsellor to be aware of any current and historical medical conditions, including mental health and any addictions, so that the potential causes of anger may be identified and that sessions are tailored to complement any other therapy that you may be having.


The Aims of Anger Management Counselling

To help you recognise what makes you angry (triggers or catalysts for anger) and to

Furthermore, a therapist may help you to see that anger and calmness are not black-or-white emotions. As with all emotions, there are varying degrees of anger: we can be mildly irritated or in a full-blown rage. People who have been experiencing anger for a long time may have lost the ability to see that there are different levels of anger and a professional will help you readdress this imbalance and recognise the difference between, for example, irritation.


Know when you’re Angry

There are often both physical and emotional symptoms to anger and, by recognising them; we are more likely to be able to control them. Possible Physical Signs of Anger:

  • You rub your face frequently.

  • Tightly clasping one hand with the other, or making clenched fists.

  • Clenching of the jaw or grinding teeth.

  • Shallow breathing and/or breathlessness


Possible Emotional Symptoms of Anger

  • A desire to ‘run away’ from the situation.

  • Irritation.

  • Feeling sad or depressed.

  • Felling guilty or resentful.

  • Anxiety, feeling anxious can manifest in many different ways.

  • A feeling or desire to lash out verbally or physically.


Rating Anger

It is useful to be able to rate anger on some sort of scale (therapists typically use 1 -10).  Low anger (irritation) may involve some of the lesser symptoms listed above (or others). Full-blown rage is likely to include more severe symptoms.  Being aware of which symptoms occur and when they appear, makes it easier to rate your anger on a scale and it may also make it easier to recognise when anger is building and to take some action to calm down. Anger is not a jump from calm to fury, there are different levels and, by being aware of these, it is can be easier to remain in control, to relax and remain calm.


Having an Anger Plan

Recognising where your current anger level is on a scale is an important first step to understanding and dealing with your anger, it also enables you to devise an anger plan.  Anger plans are unique and personal to the individual with anger issues and often relate to specific circumstances or people that have been seen to cause anger.  There are some generic components to an anger plan and these may include:

  • Removing yourself from the situation that is triggering the anger so that you have space to gather your thoughts and calm down.

  • Changing the subject of a conversation – sometimes particular topics of discussion can include anger triggers so steering the conversation in another direction can help minimise this.  

  • Slowing down- Counting to ten or using some other strategy to slow down the pace of a conversation can sometimes help.  Slowing down when you feel anger rising can help you regain some logical thought processes.

  •  Relaxation techniques – including breathing exercises and visualisations.


Keep an Anger Journal

By keeping a record of when you became angry, and for what reasons, can help you understand your anger more comprehensively.  Keeping a journal can be a very powerful method of anger management; the act of writing down the emotions and feelings associated with anger before, during and after an angry episode can focus the mind. Re-reading an anger journal helps to identify techniques for anger management that worked well and also those that didn't help in various circumstances.


To summarise- anger management therapy is based around the belief that knowledge is power – arming yourself with knowledge about your anger (understanding it more fully) can give you the power to recognise and control how you feel in any given circumstance.


Group Therapy Service


What is Group Therapy?

Group therapy involves one or more counsellors who lead a group of roughly five to 15 clients. Typically, group meets for eight or six hours each week. As part of our requirement, clients attend individual therapy in addition to the group.

Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as depression, obesity, panic disorder, social anxiety, chronic pain or substance abuse. Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness and low self-esteem. Groups often help those who have experienced loss, whether it be a spouse, a child or someone who died by suicide.


Benefits of Group Therapy

Joining a group of strangers may sound intimidating at first, but group therapy provides benefits that individual therapy may not. Psychologists say, in fact, that group members are almost always surprised by how rewarding the group experience can be. Groups can act as a support network and a sounding board. Other members of the group often help you come up with specific ideas for improving a difficult situation or life challenge, and hold you accountable along the way.

Regularly talking and listening to others also helps you put your own problems in perspective. Many people experience mental health difficulties, but few speak openly about them to people they don't know well. Oftentimes, you may feel like you are the only one struggling — but you're not. It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they're going through, and realize you're not alone.

Diversity is another important benefit of group therapy. People have different personalities and backgrounds, and they look at situations in different ways. By seeing how other people tackle problems and make positive changes, you can discover a whole range of strategies for facing your own concerns.


More than Support

While group members are a valuable source of support, formal group therapy sessions offer benefits beyond informal self-help and support groups. Group therapy sessions are led by one or more psychologists with specialized training, who teach group members proven strategies for managing specific problems. If you're involved in an anger-management group, for instance, your psychologist will describe scientifically tested strategies for controlling anger. That expert guidance can help you make the most of your group therapy experience.


Joining a Group

To find a suitable group, ask our staff for suggestions. When choosing a group, consider the following questions.

Is the group open or closed? 

Open groups are those in which new members can join at any time. Closed groups are those in which all members begin the group at the same time. They may all take part in a 12-week session together, for instance. There are pros and cons of each type. When joining an open group, there may be an adjustment period while getting to know the other group attendees.


How many people are in the group? 

Small groups may offer more time to focus on each individual, but larger groups offer greater diversity and more perspectives. Our program has two small group sessions: morning and evening.

How alike are the group members? 

Groups usually work best when members experience similar difficulties and function at similar levels. Our program places clients based on their circumstances.


Is group therapy enough? 

Many people find it is helpful to participate in both group therapy and individual therapy. Participating in both types of sessions can boost your chances of making valuable, lasting changes.

How much should I share? 

Confidentiality is an important part of the ground rules for group therapy. However, there's no absolute guarantee of privacy when sharing with others, so use common sense when divulging personal information. That said, remember that you're not the only one sharing your personal story. Groups work best where there is open and honest communication between members. Group members will start out as strangers, but in a short amount of time, you'll most likely view them as a valuable and trusted source of support.


Individual Counselling Service explanation


What is Individual Counselling?

Individual counseling is basically a collaborative effort between you and your counselor. The goal is to provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment for you to address the issues that are concerning you. It also focuses on the individual's immediate or near future concerns. Individual counseling may encompass career counseling and planning, grief after a loved one dies or dealing with problems at a job before they become big. It is also considered Individual one-on-one discussion between the counselor and the client, who is the person seeking treatment. The two form an alliance, relationship or bond that enables trust and personal growth.


What happens during individual counseling or therapy?

Individual counseling involves talking about your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and the things that are troubling you. You might spend time talking about your relationships with others, the things you are good at and the things you would like to be different. Your counselor or therapist will work with you to set goals or identify the things you would like to accomplish together. The counselor or therapist will help you develop different strategies to help you reach your goals. In some cases this could mean helping you to change patterns of thinking, learning new skills, changing behaviors, or shifting the way you feel and express emotions. Your counselor or therapist might also give you homework so that you can practice some of the things you are learning outside of the counseling sessions.

At the first appointment- It’s typical for both you and your counselor or therapist to talk about what you want from the therapy. There are many different approaches to managing your addiction problem. You may find it helpful to know more about some of approaches. Our therapists or counselors will meet you weekly or every other week, although you may be asked to meet more or less often depending on your particular needs.