by John Leverington, LMFT, LPC, LCSW
We all experience transitions in many ways: when we travel to a different country and experience a new language and culture, get a new computer and learn a new program and operating system, or even have a birthday and move into a new phase of life. I have personally experienced each of these types of transitions in the last week. It reminds me of all the transitions people coming for counseling at Olive Tree Counseling Center (OTCC) have gone through and are going through. We see people who have experienced transitions that they have chosen such as education, marriage, retirement, change of work assignments, or moving to a new location and also those transitions that they have not chosen such as having to evacuate their city for security risks, deaths of family or team members, loss of a job or ministry, or loss/change in a relationship due to unresolved conflict.
Our responses to transitions we choose often include anticipation and eagerness to move into the transition, increased energy, and hope about the future. Our responses to transitions we don’t choose are more likely to include loss and grief, distress, reduced energy and focus, and disillusionment about the future. Regardless of the transition we are going through we cannot move forward without leaving something behind, experiencing a time of the normal “unsettledness” of the transition phase, putting some closure on what has ended, and preparing for what is to come. Taking the time to process both the ending and the beginning is valuable in order to fully utilize the experience for good in our lives: for resolution of any elements of the past that are yet unresolved, to maximize the success of the transition process itself, and to ponder the lessons learned and growth God has done in our lives through this experience.
Olive Tree Counseling Center’s staff have ourselves experienced these kinds of transitions in our own lives and work and know the value of having a trusted and confidential opportunity to talk through these experiences. Our focus is to serve fellow Christian workers. One service we provide is debriefing and counseling regarding transitions. People are coming to OTCC to deal with crisis transitions that they would not have chosen but desire to gain spiritual, emotional and psychological perspective on what they have gone through. Others are coming who haven’t experienced a trauma but want to review the last term of service, both the positive and the difficult aspects, to be better prepared for future service, whether that be in their current location or elsewhere.
Whether it is a crisis transition or a planned transition OTCC is here to serve you. We have people who are already scheduling time to come for counseling in 2016 and we also try to leave time to respond to immediate requests, so do also have openings for November and December. To reserve a time for yourself or to refer someone else go to our website at olivetreecounseling.org.
“. . . often God leads us through the land we most want to avoid in order to produce the fruit we most desperately desire.” The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions by Jeff Manion pg. 191