Coping with life transitions

  • Lawrence M. Brammer
Special Section: Counselling and Health Concerns


Life transitions are sharp discontinuities with the previous life events. They have identifiable beginnings, turning points, and endings. Coping skills learned earlier are mobilized during the transition to help the person manage the transition process. A process conception of transitions includes a series of stages from entry through final resolution and growth. The primary dynamic is the process of letting go of the old value, relationship, or belief to taking hold of a new one. Coping skills consisting of support networking, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, and stress management are key mediating variables that determine the course and emotional intensity of the transition. Attitudes that influence the process are extent of perceived control of the event, perceptions of challenge, and commitment to change. perceiving the change event as a normal part of living helps to alleviate much of the distress of the transition. Transition theory offers a kind of map that helps counsellors and their clients to conceptualize what is happening to them during intensive life changes.


Coping Skill Personal Change Cognitive Restructuring Life Transition Sharp Discontinuity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrego, P. and Brammer, L. (1979).Developing coping skills for career-related change. Palo Alto, CA: American Institute for Research.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, A. (1985).Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  3. Brammer, L. (1991).How to cope with life transitions: The challenge of personal change. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  4. Brammer, L. and Abrego, P. (1981). Intervention strategies for coping with transitions.The Counseling Psychologist 9: 19–35.Google Scholar
  5. Bridges, W. (1980).Transitions: Making sense out of life changes. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  6. Hopson, S. (1979). Response to papers by Schlossberg, Brammer, and Abrego.The Counseling Psychologist 9: 36–40.Google Scholar
  7. Kobassa, S. (1979). Stressful life events, personality and health; An inquiry into hardiness.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kubler-Ross, E. (1975).Death: The final stage of growth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  9. Meichenbauin, D. (1977)Cognitive behavior modification: An integrative approach. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  10. Parkes, V. and Weiss, R. (1983).Recovery from bereavement. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Schlossberg, N. (1984).Counseling adults in transition. New York: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence M. Brammer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Washington College of EducationWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations