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Conditions: Identity Issues and Crisis

What is an identity crisis?

The concept of identity involves the experiences, relationships, beliefs, values, and memories that make up a person's subjective sense of self.

This helps create a continuous self-image that remains relatively constant even as new aspects of the self are developed or consolidated over time. Identity or parts of identity may be classified by any number of things such as religion, gender, or ethnicity. We all have intersecting identities as we as lived experiences that are shaped and influenced by their racial or ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religious faith, tradition, family structure, geographic origin, socioeconomic status, and ability or disability.

Struggling with various parts of our identity is natural and normal. However, not having a strong sense of self and struggling with identity issues may lead to anxiety and insecurity. Furthermore, experiencing stigma and prejudice (whether directly or indirectly) can also undermine our sense of self and lead to shame and lack of self-acceptance and therefore result in struggles with identity or certain aspects of our identity. For people coming out with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression this emerging identity or identities may be perceived as conflicting or mutually exclusive of these other aspects of identity (e.g., between sexual orientation and spiritual beliefs).

While everyone questions their sense self or place in the world or meaning of life from time to time, you may become preoccupied with certain questions pertaining to your sense of self and your life in a way that negatively impacts on your mood, sense of fulfilment and your daily functioning. An identity crisis is a developmental event that involves a person questioning their sense of self or place in the world. Identity crisis can occur at various points throughout our lives; however, this can be particularly common when we experience significant changes or a stressful event’s such as beginning a new relationship, changing jobs, having a child, or experiencing a traumatic event. At times, identity crisis or experiencing issues with our identity can be a result of accumulative events and emerge in the context of other, underlying difficulties. Identity issues are linked to low self-esteem and low sense of self-efficacy.

If you are going through an identity crisis you may find yourself being preoccupied with questions the following questions:

  • What am I passionate about?

  • What are my spiritual beliefs?

  • What are my values?

  • What is my role in society or purpose in life?

  • Who am I? This question may be in general, or in regard to your relationships, age, gender, sexual orientation and/or career, for example

When to seek help?

  • When an identity crisis is creating significant distress and interfering with your ability to function normally

Treatment recommendations

Psychological therapy (such as counselling, CBT, ACT or Psychodynamic Therapy) can be helpful for addressing some of the underlying issues that might be contributing to your identity crisis as well as help you to explore your identity more deeply and work through the associated issues that emerged. The selected treatment however would be individually tailored to your needs following a comprehensive assessment process in our service.

#identity #crisis #CBT #ACT

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