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How counseling can help turn things around during a job loss

answered 01:50 PM EST, Wed November 09, 2011
I lost a good job last month after 12 years with the company. I was not expecting it and my prospects at the moment are not very good. I am having a lot of trouble coping with my new situation and I’m feeling kind of hopeless and depressed and since I am so down I am not doing as much as I should to get myself turned around…I just feel like I don’t have the energy or the confidence anymore.

I wonder if some counseling might help, but obviously now that I am without a full salary I really have to watch what I spend. Is there some form of counseling that I might get that is very result driven and that will get me feeling a little better fast (even if it won’t solve all of my problems?)

Mary Ellen Brayton Says...

Mary Ellen Brayton M. Brayton

Having trouble coping with a job loss is quite common, especially after it happens unexpectedly. It sounds like it was a job you’ve enjoyed having for 12 years. That’s a long time in today’s job market. Feelings of hopelessness and depression are usually derived from the grief one feels as a result of that loss, especially because it was not in your control. You have lost a piece of who you are. Unfortunately, in our society our identity is tied largely to what we do instead of who we really are. In addition, the job search process has changed in the last 12 years. On line applications, social media and networking are the three main avenues for finding work these days. These are typically areas out of most people’s comfort zone, so in addition to processing the feelings of loss, they are pushed into an area involving fear of the unknown.

There is good news, however. Counseling can definitely help. It sounds like you need more than the standard fare of resume writing, interviewing, networking, and job search strategies. Looking at your strengths, transferable skills, rebuilding your self-confidence, facing your fears and getting the support you need in order to stay positive during your search process will be key to your success. Look for a Career Counselor who has experience in these areas. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) tends to offer quicker results than traditional psychotherapy. CBT is based on the premise that how we think determines how we feel. It helps to correct our irrational thoughts (i.e. hopelessness, feeling of no prospects etc.) and can be put together with a plan of action in order to increase your energy, confidence, and prospects. It involves goal setting and action. It also may involve facing fears one small step at a time.

Look on-line for therapists in your area that specialize in transitions, who specialize in not only career counseling but depression, anxiety and coping with change. Talk to others who have gone through a career transition and ask them what they did to help them. Getting out and talking with others is key. Isolation will only prolong your feelings of hopelessness. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the key to success. And asking for help is a sign of a strong person. We can’t do everything on our own. Spending quality time with someone who can help you process your thoughts, build you back up, and give you the direction you need will definitely be worth the small price you pay for their services.


Mary Ellen Brayton,LPC, NCC

Owner, Transitional Counseling PLLC


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Page last updated Nov 11, 2011

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