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Resolving Life Transition Challenges with Therapy


Resolving Life Transition Challenges with Therapy


The transitions that take place in our lives can bring about many unexpected changes. Many of them are inevitable and some of them are by our own choice. They can open new doors of opportunities and offer new experiences and possibilities. They can also give you the chance to start anew or change something to make your life better.

Leaving a situation which is familiar, nonetheless, can also be daunting, even when the change is expected or desired. After all, transitions can mean new hurdles and challenges to face. The new opportunities and experiences can result in your feeling uncertain and afraid. They can, however, lead to feeling alone or threatened.

Your ability to adjust to the various transitions that occur doesn’t change the fact that the experience can be very overwhelming. People adjust in different ways and at their own pace while some things bring about more struggles than others. When these happen, it’s time to explore your options. Most especially, do not deny yourself outside help from a qualified professional.


The Challenges of Transition

Change is a fact of life and does not necessarily have to be avoided. In fact, for a beautiful, graceful swan to emerge, it must pass through the awkward and sad stage of being an “ugly duckling.” While it can bring negative feelings, they can also be cathartic. In fact, during the saddest days of your life, you will most likely be praying for a change.

Life transitions are signals of change. They are also signals of new possibilities in life. “A major life transition literally closes one chapter of our life, and starts a new one, putting us in a new place and direction that we have not walked before. It is often a very difficult adjustment as we endure intense feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty,” explains Theravive.

Transitions, however, are also signals that you need to adjust. Adjusting is an innate ability for all living things to be able to evolve and survive as a species. It may not be an easy process for everyone, every time, even when it comes after a positive change – job promotion, marriage, or the birth of a child. This is because change can be stressful, distressing and extremely challenging.

The adjustment becomes more challenging and overwhelming when it is complicated by resistance or your ability to adjust is impaired. Resistance comes when the transition isn’t something you wish in your life – loss of a loved one, business or job, or failing in an important undertaking. Your innate ability to adjust may also be compromised when you are weighed down by an “adjustment disorder.”


Understanding Adjustment Disorder

“Adjustment disorder” or “stress response syndrome” is characterized by thoughts and manifestations that are triggered by a major transition. According to Good Therapy, the symptoms of adjustment disorder, “… 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.

It was once thought that adjustment disorder can only be triggered by internal stressors. These days, it is believed by experts that external stressors can just as well trigger the condition, though the manifestations are influenced by one’s personal beliefs, experiences, understanding and consequences. This is reflected in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – IV of Mental Disorders.

The condition has varied symptoms. These usually depend on the associated emotional condition – depression, anxiety, etc. According to Healthline, there are six types of adjustment disorder:

  • Adjustment disorder with depressed mood
  • Adjustment disorder with anxiety
  • Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood
  • Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct
  • Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct
  • Adjustment disorder, Unspecified

If your ability to adjust has been overwhelmed by the change following transitions, you may also be at risk to substance abuse and other risky behavior. Some red flags to watch out for are incessantly breaking into tears or withdrawing socially after a painful or traumatic loss.


Clearing the Path: Resolving Adjustment Disorder

Nobody is “immune” from adjustment disorders. About half of the population occasionally experiences brief bouts of it, but you could have a greater risk if you have depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, and other complicating emotional conditions. You are also vulnerable to adjustment disorders if you have been abused, have a traumatic experience, or you are weighed down by an emotional issue, such as a troubled marriage, chronic medical condition, financial problems, or death in the family.

Despite the overwhelming symptoms, there is a good chance that you can bounce back from it because the condition is short-term. The symptoms usually appear within three months after the life transition and persist for up to six months. With the proper assessment of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, adjustment disorders have a good outlook. Without treatment, though, the condition runs the risk of getting worse or more complicated.

The treatment process entails the assessment of the symptoms of the adjustment disorder, as well as the symptoms of the underlying or co-occurring emotional conditions. These are important in deciding a course of therapy that should meet your exact needs and resolve your specific difficulties.


Therapy for Life Transitions

Life transitions, particularly developmental milestones, can be exciting as they usher wonderful changes and advancements into your life. However, the symptoms can be very intense, and when it co-occurs with other emotional issues, or worse, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc., your ability to adjust can be overwhelmed. Stopping in your tracks or giving up should not be your only choice. To resolve life transition challenges, seek professional help from an independent therapist contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC.

Treatment is important in resolving the symptoms of adjustment disorders and bouncing back to your old life and normal functioning. It is important in preventing the disorder from getting worse or becoming more complex. It is true that adjustment disorders are short-term emotional conditions, but only when it isn’t complicated by other emotional conditions. If you are depressed or have anxiety, for instance, it can last for as long as these conditions are affecting you. So, when the changes and challenges seem to be more than you are ready to face alone, it is practical to seek out the help of a qualified therapist.

Psychotherapies are the preferred modes of treatment for adjustment disorders, being “more solidly supported by clinical evidence,” says the National Institute of Health (NIH). An experienced therapist contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC, can help in creating a suitable therapy program for you. You may not be able to bounce back as quickly without the right professional help. Call CCS – Southern Pines, NC for your first appointment.

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, caring, and relaxed atmosphere in the Southern Pines/Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Raeford area. These independently contracted therapists/counselors assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, the independently contracted therapists with Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC are able and happy to assist you!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, NC, Montgomery County, NC, Richmond County, NC, Randolph County, NC, Chatham County, NC

Cities: Southern Pines NC, Pinehurst NC, Aberdeen NC, Taylortown NC, Pinebluff NC, West End NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Ashley Heights NC, Ashmont NC, Five Points NC, Wind Blow NC, Jackson Springs NC, Whispering Pines NC, Vass NC, Cameron NC, Carthage NC, Eastwood NC, Lakeview NC, Narrow Ridge NC, Robbins NC, Roseland NC, Tramway NC, Troy NC, Zion Grove NC, Biscoe NC

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Southern Pines, NC
780 NW Broad St. Suite 210
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 725-6336 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Choose your Therapist

  • Kristin Vernon, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Divorce, Adjustment Disorders, Mood Disorders, Coping Skills, Parenting, Family Conflict, Marital Conflict, Relationship Issues
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gretchen Montesanto, MA, LPC, NCC

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Teens, Individuals, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Stress, LGBT, Adjustment Disorder, Motivation, Life Transitions, Mood Disorders, Military Spouses

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Jaime J. Fitzpatrick MS, LPCS, LCAS

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Families and Couples, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Recovery, Depression, Military Life Issues, Adjustment Disorder, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Addictions, Emotional Disturbance, Coping Skills, Impulsivity, Grief and Loss, Self-Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare,  Tricare Prime/Select and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Kathryn Wiens, PsyD. HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adult, Individuals, Couples and Families.
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare Prime/Select, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Tracy Goldberg, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, Children and Families. Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiance, Behavioral Issues, Peer Relationships, Family Conflict, Depression, Anxiety, Parenting Anxiety, ADHD, Self-Esteem Issues, Family Conflict/Divorce, Marriage Counseling, Adjustment Disorders, Relationship Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Behavioral Issues, Coping Skills, Mood Disorders, Parent Skill Building, Christian Counseling upon request
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, Cash, HRA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC