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Midlife Crisis Counselling - in Vernon BC

This is the stereotype. The real thing is nowhere near as much fun.

Cool bearded elder man on motorbike_edited.jpg

The typical image of a man in mid-life crisis is a story him of buying a fast car, finding a young girlfriend and quitting his respectable career. Even if that happens, the real story is much deeper

 

What is a Mid-life Crisis?

Somewhere close to halfway through life, something happens to us. Before this point, we saw ourselves as making progress, climbing towards our goals and motivated to keep going. Suddenly, we reach a plateau where, no longer climbing and energized, we look back at what we have accomplished. It doesn't look as good as we hoped. We look ahead and see that time is running out. We start to feel that something is deeply wrong with our life.

Your version may be different from that. What is the same for most people is that life seems to have come to a halt or slowdown, and prospects for the future look and feel dim. It's not just a bad week or the winter blues that goes away with the season. 

The idea of a midlife crisis was first described in 1965 by Elliott Jaques, a Canadian psychoanalyst. He noticed that many famous artists did their best while still young, and then experienced a creative decline. Michaelangelo, for example, completed a good number of masterpieces before he was 40 years old, after which 15 years wend by before he started another important work. After showing the same pattern in several historical figures, Jaques says this:

"Although I have thus far taken my examples from the extremes of genius, my main theme is that the mid-life crisis is a reaction which not only occurs in creative genius, but manifests itself in some form in everyone."

"Youth and childhood are past and gone, and demand to be mourned. The achievement of mature and independent adulthood presents itself as the main psychological task."

In my experience counselling, mid-life crisis shows up with symptoms like these:

  • discouragement with  life so far

  • a feeling of running out of time

  •  boredom with once exciting activities

  • thoughts about the meaning of life, and death

  • disappointment with changing roles

  • frustration with bodily changes

  • regret over missed goals

  • comparisons to other's accomplishments

  • questioning relationships

 

Rebuild for the Next Stage

 

Mid-life experiences like this are a transition between stages of life. We do not just get back to our old selves. Instead, a new identity is being built. It will include peaceful acceptance that we all are running out of time. We will understand better what motivates us and what hurts us. We accept our shortcomings and move to become creative and productive again, even if everything is not perfect. We restore some relationships and end others. Real values become more important to us - wisdom, courage, insight and love. 

In counselling, we take time to talk about what is happening to you on the inside. It does make sense that your life has reached this point. We work on these kinds of topics:

  • Gaining insight into what has happened and how it affected you 

  • Getting a clearer picture of the life you want to live

  • Reducing the effect of negative thoughts and feelings that can prevent you from seeing yourself being productive and happy again

  • Deciding what is worth living for

  • Acceptance of what you can control and what you cannot

  • Practical strategies for relationships

 

Feel free to call 236-600-9923 to learn more about counselling or use the booking or contact form below.

References

Jaques, E. (2006). Death and the mid-life crisis. In Is It Too Late?: Key Papers on Psychoanalysis and Ageing. Routledge.

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