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How we can support ourselves through the process of change

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The previous article (IN, 4 March) outlined four stages through which we may pass when change occurs: denial, resistance, acceptance and commitment.1 Although a change may be immediate, such as moving to a new building or working in a different team, the emotional process, or transition, that we experience as a result of this can take much longer.

In this sense, change is something external, for example initiated by the government or by your employer. The transition, however, is internal - a psychological re-orientation that we have to achieve before the change will work.2 This transition model developed by Bridges is described further in the table, below.

It describes three separate processes (all of which can be challenging and uncomfortable but ultimately can also be liberating and exciting): saying goodbye; exploring; and moving forward. These processes involve letting go of how things used to be; exploring new options; and working in new ways. However, some people freeze in the final stage and do not fully complete the change process.

Change as a natural process
This article will focus on how we can move from resisting to accepting changes during the transition process. Without moving in this way, we will remain stuck, which drains our energy, keeps us feeling stressed and fails to create the necessary adjustment.

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