What to expect when life is impacted by changes – Helpful perspectives from “cycles of development”

Based on humanistic psychology, we continue to grow throughout our lives. This includes the times when we are influenced by changes, both those presented as positives such as a new job, marriage, child’s graduation and those presented as negatives such as injuries, separation, or pandemics like what we have been through in the past 2 years. We continue to develop as human beings even during those tough
times.

The theory of ‘cycle of development’ originally describes the specific tasks for children: 1st stage of Being(-6 months), 2nd stage of Exploring (- 18 months), 3rd stage of Thinking (18 months- 3 years), 4th stage of Identity(3- 6 years), 5th stage of Skills (- 12 years) and 6th of Regeneration ( 13-19 years.) (Levin 1974)


Hay linked these ideas to understand our adjustment process to the changes as follows. (Hay 2009): (think of your recent change as you read through the stages)

stage 1; Immobilisation- We seem to do nothing, withdraw as we lack information about the new environment. We need time to absorb new reality.
– New environment is a shock. It is particularly so when the change was not our choice. We do not want to
accept.

stage 2: Denial- we act as if it has not happened and go on as we used to.
– We know we need to survive, so we try, but it does not work.

stage 3: Frustration- we know we need to change but don’t know how.
– We struggle but start to see different ways of handling the situation.

stage 4: Acceptance- we start exploring options that might be appropriate to the new situation.
– We become open to being skillful in new ways.

stage 5: Development- we develop our new skills and knowledge so as to become competent performers.

stage 6: Application- we apply our new skills within our new identity

We feel anxious when we do not know what is coming. Knowledge of what is expected helps to reassure us when going through changes, that we are behaving as most others would. With this knowledge, we will be more comfortable being self-compassionate and giving permission to ourselves to feel sad and disappointed, before advancing to being fully capable again.

References
Hay J. (2009). Transactional Analysis for Trainers. Hertford UK: Sherwood Publishing.
Levin P. (1974). Becoming the way we are. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications. Inc.

Written By:
Rie Miura
Counsellor
SACAC Counselling

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