The period between one’s mid-20s to early-30s can be a challenging and stressful time, as many face insecurity, disappointment, and doubt regarding many aspects of their life, including their career, relationships, and finances. These feelings might be more common than you might initially expect. According to one survey from LinkedIn, for example, 75% of 25- to 33-year-olds have experienced such a “quarter life crisis”—and 32% say they’re currently experiencing one (Decembrele, 2017).
For some of these people, counselling could be a big help in alleviating feelings of insecurity and doubt. If you’re considering pursuing counsellor training, here’s some advice to help you support individuals who may be navigating a quarter-life crisis.
Many Factors Can Contribute to a Quarter-Life Crisis
In order to help clients navigate their quarter-life crisis, it’s helpful to have some understanding of what some of the common contributing factors are. There are many pressures that can feed into a quarter-life crisis. Some of the most common factors include anxiety about finding a job or career that an individual is passionate about, and individuals comparing themselves to more successful friends (Decembrele, 2017). Some might be concerned about finding a life-partner, or climbing the property ladder.
In general, millennials struggle more financially than their parents did—another important contributing factor which could be causing quarter-life crises to become more common (Hosie, 2017). Traditional markers of progress like buying a home, getting married, and having children are often being pushed back, leaving many approaching thirty without any clear markers that they are on the right track, and without knowing what’s on the other side (Piskorz, 2018).
Use Your Counselling Skills to Help Clients Avoid Extreme Thinking
One of the ways that professionals can use their counselling skills to help clients navigate a quarter-life crisis is to help them avoid thinking in extremes. When thinking in extremes, clients might, for example, look at the elements of their life where they feel dissatisfied, and conclude that their entire life is lacking or disappointing. Questioning this type of all-or-nothing conclusion and encouraging clients to acknowledge and appreciate the aspects of their lives in which they’re actually doing well could be useful in helping them overcome their quarter-life crisis (Lawrence, 2018).
Similarly, helping clients break down desires into achievable, tangible goals could be an effective way of fighting back against a quarter-life crisis (Lawrence, 2018). If a client says that they need to become more successful or get their life together, these could seem like overwhelming tasks to accomplish. Breaking these down into manageable steps like applying for a new job or getting into a new exercise routine could help clients feel less overwhelmed, and that they’re making progress.
Quarter-Life Crises Can Be Valuable Opportunities for Growth
When helping clients through a quarter-life crisis after completing your counsellor training, it might also be worth reminding them that such events often provide an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. Research has suggested that these types of crises often come with unanticipated positive consequences, and that they “may foster personal growth, an enhanced self of self-efficacy, and the pursuit of meaningful new challenges and relationships” (Carr & Pudrovska, 2007). With the right support, a quarter-life crisis can be an opportunity for clients to reassess their life and make a conscious decision about what direction they’d like to take going forward.
Are you interested in helping others navigate challenging experiences?
Contact Rhodes Wellness College to learn more about our counsellor training in Vancouver.
Carr, D. & Pudrovska, T. (2007, Feb 12). Mid-Life and Later-Life Crises. In Encyclopedia of Gerontology (Second Edition). (pp. 175-185). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0123708702001268
Decembrele, B. (2017 Nov 15). Encountering a Quarter-Life Crisis? You’re Not Alone… Retrieved from https://blog.linkedin.com/2017/november/15/encountering-a-quarter-life-crisis-you-are-not-alone
Hosie, R. (2017 Nov 15). The Age You’re Most Likely to Have a Quarter-Life Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/quarter-life-crisis-age-most-likely-job-work-relationships-linkedin-career-house-money-a8054616.html
Lawrence, J. (2018 May 7). Are You Having a Quarter Life Crisis? Retrieved from https://www.agoodplacetherapy.com/blog/2018/4/24/are-you-having-a-quarter-life-crisis
Piskorz, J. (2018, Dec 30). Me and my quarter-life crisis: a millennial asks what went wrong. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/dec/30/me-and-my-quarter-life-crisis-a-millennial-asks-what-went-wrong