Threat or opportunity?

Retirement is little discussed meaningfully as it looms. Usually it is simply treated as a date and I have not come across any business that prepares it’s staff at any level from board-level to shop floor, partner to administrator, for retirement. You could say that is is treated as planned unemployment. In therapeutic terms as a counsellor I begin by looking at this change in circumstances for what it is: a space.

The space of retirement

This is a completely different space to anything the retiree will have known for many years. In psychotherapy spaces represent opportunity. For many, if such spaces are not anticipated and planned for, they become threatening. They can be traumatic. it is not surprising that many become especially susceptible to heart attacks post-retirement. It is literally, in counselling terms, a trauma to the established neuro-pathways generating excel Cortisol as this empty space looms into reality.

Anticipating and planning

A space for a counsellor is the space in which the individual can become themselves without distraction. The problem is that many of us, when it comes to retirement, have been used to a routine. Often, whether as Chairman, director, partner, manager, fitter, technician, administrator, for all our working lives we have largely not been in control of our lives. A space opens up and this represents change. Where there is change there is also loss. There are many challenges that come with change. Change is a threat neuro-scientifically. It can be de-stabilising and unsettling.

The role of Counselling and Psychtherapy

Different people will react differently. I have not yet met anyone who has thoroughly planned for retirement (other than financially). Working with a counsellor towards retirement can enable a rewarding final third of a life to become and live through a rewarding stage. I can work with you as a counsellor/psychotherapist to help you to understand the ramifications to you personally of retirement and to identify what will make it rewarding and rich.