Tanya Younce, M.Ed., LPCC


Finding your Way Through Change

In a world full of constant change, there are millions of people who put their energies into avoiding, fearing and resisting it. “I hate change,” is a phrase I hear quite a bit in my sessions. But I think that if people had more knowledge about what to kick into gear when change was inevitable, they’d probably not hate it as much.

Many of you came to me because of some life-altering event that unglued you in some way. Transitions can often feel sad, confusing, painful, and bleak. And over the years, I’ve worked to help determine how my clients can get through them with the least amount of damage. What I’ve learned is that there’s a particular set of resources that resonates better for some than for others. It’s like writing a personalized survival guide for how to best weather an emotional storm.

Everyone has unique experiences with loss and uncertainty. And that’s what transitions are – some kind of loss, followed by a lot of certainty. So there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to approach these situations. And because of this, I like to use clients’ own life experiences to figure out where to start this process.

Find somewhere to sit quietly and recall the times in your life when you faced something incredibly difficult. Maybe it was after you moved to a new town, adjusted to a new school, or dealt with a major illness. Or perhaps it was a painful breakup, your parents’ divorce, or a project at work that really kicked your ass. Whatever it was, no matter how messy the process, you did survive it, right? SOMETHING got you through. Now, try and remember what helped. Was it having a strong support system? Praying? Staying busy? Spending time outside or at the library? Did you get counseling? Cry a lot? Or was it simply the passage of time?

These memories help give you an idea of what works for YOU — the elements that helped you weather other bad storms.

For me, I know that if I can stay connected with my body in some way, survival and healing usually flow from that. Because if I feel PHYSICALLY confident, it helps me stay strong with other good choices for myself. It’s my North star. So what do you think yours is?

Our survival resources fall into four different categories: People, Places, Things, and Activities. See below for a form I created to help you identify those that have helped in the past, and those you know could help you now. If you’re going on a long and challenging journey, you want to be prepared for it. Trust me — establishing these unique resources ahead of time will really help.

But there’s one thing you’ll need to know after figuring them out.


You’re not always going to FEEL like using them or putting them into practice.

As long as you know this ahead of time, you’ll be less discouraged when it happens. I’ve learned to say this to myself: “Feel the suck and do it anyway.” Do it anyway – that’s the key. If you don’t FEEL like going to the gym (or yoga class, or for a walk), DO IT ANYWAY!! If you don’t FEEL like writing in your journal, DO IT ANYWAY! If you don’t FEEL like asking a friend to come over and talk, DO IT ANYWAY! It sounds stupidly simple, but that’s it. That’s the fundamental rule about getting through tough times.

One foot in front of the other, using what helps you, over time, equals surviving. Equals healing. Equals getting to the other side — and feeling a bit more comfortable with change.


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