Stages of a Transition

For years, I was a ‘Rites of Passage’ guide and studied transitions. My Masters Thesis in Counseling was on Menopause. Here is a quick overview of the 3 stages of a transition.

There are three distinct stages in the process of transition:


Neutral Zone

New Beginning

It is very important to pass through each one of these three stages in order to have a successful transition. Successful here means that one is able to move forward in contrast to getting stuck.

Each stage has clearly defined tasks that need to be accomplished before being able to go on. This process happens on an intellectual and an emotional level.

Recommended reading: Transition: Making Sense out of Life’s Passages by William Bridges


Looking Back to What Has Been

  • Make a list of your accomplishments (list those of which you personally feel proud of, those which are socially or culturally recognized):
  • Make a list of events in your life and things that have importance to you:
  • Make a list of the outcome of these life events:

Letting Go, Closures

  • Look back over your life. What would you like to leave behind?
  • What are your coping mechanisms? Which ones have you outgrown? Which ones are no longer useful?
  • Are there relationships that need closure? (Loose ends that need to be tied up? parents, siblings, friends, relatives)

Looking Forward

  • What is it that you really want to do? (Think about it from the view that you know you have only one more year to live. What would be the most important to you?)
  • Would you have to take on a certain role in order to realize that “dream”?
  • Which ones of your life experiences would be the most helpful for you?

People, who deliberate fully before they take a step, will spend their lives on one leg.

Anthony De Mello


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