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Oiling the Tin Man’s Armor and Healing His Heart IV: Finding Support and Guidance

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It is now time to engage in an even more detailed and individualized assessment of the rate of change experienced:

  • Have there been any other important transitions in your life this past year that were not included on this list? What score would you give these changes for yourself?
  • Relative to the assigned scores, which of the transitions do you think have been most difficult for you? Which have been easiest? Why?
  • If you were to relive this past year, which of these transitions would you like to avoid? Which transitions would you like to have experienced which did not occur?
  • Some of the transitions on the original list are generally quite positive for most people. Which of the transitions that have occurred for you this past year have been most positive? Which have been most negative? Have both types of transitions been stressful for you? Which type was most stressful?

 

Pattern of Life Transitions

It is now time to place the current transitions score on the Life Transition Grid (see template in Appendix C). We can record either the score obtained from the scale or an estimated score if the scale score seems inaccurate. The current stress score is to be recorded at the appropriate point of intersec­tion between one’s current age (horizontal axis) and one’s life-change score (vertical ax­is). Probable transitions scores are then plotted for both the past and future.

This process begins when those points in one’s past are identified when major transitions occurred, then those points when life was particularly stable are identified. Similarly, probable time periods in the future are identified when major transitions are likely to occur and when relative stability will prevail. A line from birth to death is then drawn that connects these points. Other less significant periods of transition and stability might also be identified as well—so that the line becomes more definitive (with several ups and downs).

Consideration is then given to ways in which hopes and fears associated with major life transitions are handled:

  • Have the transitions tended to be too fast or too slow? Why?
  • Have certain types of events tended to precede or even precipitate major transitions?
  • What have been the typical consequences of major life transitions? Immediate im­pact? Impact after one year? Physical illness? Health? Depression? Exhilaration? New relationships? The termination of old relationships?
  • Have you consistently and consciously taken any specific actions to make these tran­sitions more satisfying? What actions?

Attention now shifts to ways in which we manage transitions. What are the most effective ways to manage these changes? The concepts offered below regarding manag­ing transitions might be considered at this point.

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