Each phase of life has its unique challenges, developmental tasks, and possible pitfalls. Mid-life is a time when much of life has already been lived; patterns that are both life-affirming and others that are less productive or satisfying are evident. It is a time of assessing and evaluating what your life has been; you may also be questioning the meaning of life in general and of your life in particular, and wondering what is next. Carl Jung observed that the first half of life is turned outward toward establishing a life with a focus on career and family while the second half of life is more introspective and inward oriented. Psychotherapy is an excellent vehicle in this phase of life to initiate or deepen an inquiry into your life, its meaning, and any changes you would like to make.
Some concerns common in mid-and-later life that we may address in psychotherapy include: (this is by no means an exhaustive list; What is on your mind?)
Growing older: feelings about aging in general; will you continue to grow and be vital or will depression and stagnation set in?
Health and body: concerns, thoughts and feelings about physical aspects of aging, including body image, menopause and illness.
Facing regrets,loss and grief: Looking inward with courage at what was and was not, what is and what will or will not be. Feeling loss, moving through grief, making peace with your life.
Empty nest: Many different feelings arise when all the kids are out of the house. There may be feelings of loss, emptiness and purposelessness or of spaciousness and freedom, or quite possibly a mixture of both.
Relationships: This is a time of life where many people face divorce, widowhood, and many different feelings about the relationship they have or don't have. A time of reflection about solitude/loneliness or companionship/partnership.
Parenting and grandparenting: adjusting to being parents to adults, finding your place as mentor and grandparent (or if you are an older parent to younger children, exploring this experience).
Career/finances: exploring thoughts and feelings about your work history. Later life career changes and meaningful work. Concerns about financial security before and after retirement.
Retirement or Refirement: exploring your vision of retirement. It may include leisure and relaxation, travel, volunteering, a new career, or finding a new or old passion to explore. Delving into hopes, concerns, fears about this major life transition.
Revisiting/visiting your inner world: there may be more interest in an inner exploration; dreams may serve as a guide or important part of this process.
Creativity: this may be a time of pursuing creative interests such as art, music and dance. These may be new interests or picking up old ones.
Mortality: coping with the loss of aging parents, partners/spouses, family and friends. Facing the inevitability of your own mortality and feelings about this.
Peace and Wisdom: reaping the rewards of aging in terms of more inner peace and wisdom, less concern with what others think. Working through whatever internal obstacles hinder this experience.
Deciding what's important: and leaving the rest! Redefining yourself as you identify less with your outer responsibilities and more with who you really are. Releasing and shedding identities and ways of being that no longer have value.