Transitions are constant in life. They can be big or small and cover the lifespan. The word transition refers to a psychological process that occurs as one moves into a new situation. It occurs in stages, with each stage building upon the next. Typically, one can expect a transition to start with an ending, a letting go, or a leaving behind (Bridges, 2009).
No one is immune and each and every one of us experiences a multitude of transitions throughout one day, let alone a lifetime.
Recent news has flooded us with articles that show rising trends of anxiety, depression, and suicide rates. It can be argued that the ability to navigate transitions impacts an individuals overall well-being and ability to cope with life stressors. All transitions involve change and movement from the familiar to the unknown. For some this can equal immense amounts of stress and anxiety which impacts the quality of day-to-day life.
For young adults in treatment, it is useful to understand what marks a successful transition. Also important is to understand the traits that indicate an individual is thriving in transition. To thrive means that one is engaged socially, intellectually, and emotionally. It demonstrates the ability to connect to others in a healthy and meaningful way and view the world in a positive light. It shows security in the present and confidence in the future. Rarely does one experience a healthy transition without support. A community that provides a sense of belonging, support, and connection increases the change of an individual experiencing what it means to thrive.
Five hallmarks have been identified (Schreiner, 2012) that can differentiate between a successful and unsuccessful transition:
Learning to navigate these five hallmarks of transition is a developmental life task.
Dragonfly Transitions, in southern Oregon, finds that the young adults in the program often experience transition as difficult. This can lead to avoidance. Dragonfly intentionally builds in multiple forms of transition with opportunity to master the hallmarks of success. With mastery comes increased traits of self-efficacy, self-determination, engagement, openness to new opportunities, perseverance, and grit.