Life Transition Conciliatory Method

Dr. Patricia Munhall, N.C. PsyA, CHt

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The guiding principle of this method is conciliation. Conciliation is a therapeutic activity where individuals, couples, groups are assisted with resolving opposing emotions, resistance to change, indecision, and conflict whether intrapersonal or interpersonal. Life transitions are thought of as major life changes, which are often highly charged with emotions. This method utilizes change theory to assist individuals to adapt to the new life transition and in so doing establish equilibrium, emerging optimism and improved quality of living in their new situation or way of being. Developing a positive optimistic emotional or psychological attitude towards change or transition is the goal of this method.


Life is characterized by change and transition. Resistance and sadness is often the first response to moving from what is familiar to something new and not familiar. Just think of children, or even adults, when there is a geographic move. There are losses, and the gains have yet to be realized. The opposing emotions of moving eventually need to be conciliated so that adaptation to the new change or transition is accomplished with a positive outcome.

Here are a few of life transitions; marriage, birth of a baby, geographical moves, aging, divorce, changing jobs, losing a job, grief responses to death or sickness, changing health status of self or other, legal problems, job promotions, estrangement from someone close, and the list goes on.







For an individual experiencing a life transition there are often many opposing emotions within the individual which can cause intrapersonal conflict. These opposing forces need to be conciliated so that the individual can experience peace of mind, acceptance of the change and a sense of optimism. For example, individuals who may be going through a transition such as a divorce may find themselves in two different worlds. One world may be a perception of relief… more arguing or pain. In contrast the same person may enter a world of loneliness or have perceptions of failure. In these two different worlds, so to speak, are compelling forces often pulling in different directions. Individuals feel the push and pull and attempt to resolve these conflicts which are causing confusion and intrapersonal conflict. Counseling is very helpful to sorting out these mixed feelings and reactions and assisting an individual in adapting to a new life filled with promise. This is conciliation working positively towards an improved quality of life.

For couples, groups, and company groups, there may be different responses to any type of life or group transition. Change is more common than ever and is a constant of life. A person marries an individual and then watches as the individual “changes.” This can be a positive change especially if one partner celebrates change in the other as he or she grows and is successful. The same scenario of growth and success may create conflict and opposing emotions within a couple. Perhaps jealousy is a response with worry about losing one’s partner. Or it might be that insecurity needs to be sorted out from the feeling of losing the original partner. So we see that the same change can produce dramatically different responses. In the latter case the Life Transition Conciliatory Method can help the couple to explore the resistance to change and what mixed emotions are causing conflict. If conflicts fester in these situations we can predict the results. Once again the goal is toward conciliation and compatibility of emotions.

Change in the working environment is constant. If change is creating a negative attitude, feelings of depression or a lack of cooperation, the resistances to change need to be explored. The only way to overcome resistance is to understand what it is. The Transition Conciliatory Model is utilized in these settings, to uncover the different perceptions of individuals and to move to conciliation where the change can be implemented successfully.

The changes inherent in life transitions often present critical and painful challenges. Individuals are often so very unhappy as they perceive for the most part some kind of loss. Conciliatory counseling provides the means towards developing acceptance of loss, such as death or one’s healthy image, and developing positive adaptive attitudes and behaviors as one experiences these life transitions and changes. Fostering hope and optimism are critical to this process. With the LTC method of counseling combined with other methods, the individual, couple or group can adapt to the transition in a way where the overall quality of life is enhanced with the growth of acceptance and the emergence of hope and optimism.






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