When we start anything new, such as a new course or job, there are almost always challenges along the way. Change can be both exciting and daunting at the same time, even when the change is something you have been looking forward to. You are probably starting something new at the moment and so have begun a process of transition.Various words come to mind to describe a transition and some of them are as follows: ❍ Exciting ❍ New ❍ Different ❍ Scary ❍ Taxing ❍ Emotional You may be able to think of others. During this process of transition you may feel or experience some, or even all, of these. A useful model of transition is one put forward by Bridges (2004). Bridges argues that all transitions start with endings and finish with new beginnings; it has three stages. Stage one, ‘endings’, asserts that we all experience loss at the beginning of the transition process as we let go of what is behind us. Even if we dislike our current situation and are moving onto something new and different we experience loss, as most of us prefer what we know (even when we dislike it) to the unknown. This is followed by stage two, ‘the neutral zone’; this is generally an uncomfortable place where we can feel anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead. It could be described as a state of ‘limbo’. But Bridges argues that we need to spend time here so that we can discover what we should do next. The final stage is ‘new beginnings’, as we move forward into the next phase of our lives. It is particularly interesting to note that all three stages overlap; so we can still be experiencing loss, whilst feeling uncertain about the future after we have begun something new.
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