What happens to the parents left behind when the kids leave them with an empty nest? Does it feel like life is losing its center focus? How does one approach the sense of loss – of identity, of roles, of purpose, of a place in the world? The choices in which to respond may seem endless but how does one move forward when all one feels is sadness and even despair?
Empty Nest: Coming to Terms
Releasing fear and other blocks is key to proceeding so that changes in life and routines can evolve and be inspired from a calm and peaceful state of mind. Navigating this transition within the therapist-client relationship through individual or couples counseling can serve to hasten the journey through the gamut of emotions that may include fear of loneliness, panic for children going out into the world, anxiety for their and one’s own safety, as well as, boredom and unhappiness and loss of self-worth.
One cannot surmount and overcome the fears without looking at the thoughts, needs and beliefs from which they arise. The feeling of being out of control of our own and others’ lives, triggered by the changed environment and the judgments about empty nest circumstances, can leave one feeling confused, frightened and depressed about future goals and happiness.
While reasons for sadness may appear obvious and expected, the underlying assumptions and beliefs may not be as clear. In order to change the mind and gain a new perspective it may require time, discipline and dedication to explore the underlying causes for the conflicts – work that with the help of a therapist, can be more easily accomplished and achieved. Through the client-therapist relationship, beliefs and judgements that interfere with one’s advancement to peace and happiness can be examined and released to make room for healing, along with new ideas, attitudes, behaviors and goals.
Photo credit: Joshua Earle