Midlife Crisis Counseling


Counseling & Psychotherapy in SLO / the Central Coast / California

Midlife, which can start as early as 40 and last as long as 70, is one of the developmental stages of every human being's life, something everyone must go through, though some will have a successful outcome, and some may not.  The process of therapy, counseling, and coaching can be great help.

Sometimes a midlife crisis comes with a big birthday, and sometimes it's brought on by other events or life circumstances.  Your parents are getting noticeably older; the kids are soon off to college.  You're starting to look and feel a little different.  Sometimes a strange feeling rises up from inside you.  However it comes, it's an unsettling, upsetting, sometimes scary feeling. 

You actually might still be quite young -- 40 is still very young, and 55 can be the prime of life, for both men and women.  But there can be a subtle, or not so subtle, feeling or realization that the clock has started counting the other direction now, and there's no going back, there's only going forward.  When people are hit with these distressing feelings, they may not understand the cause -- that they're moving through an important developmental stage of life that requires their conscious attention.

They may panic or "act out," by having an affair or buying a red convertible sports car, the classic, old examples of the midlife crisis.  But the feelings inside are nonetheless painful and frightening, and they need to be faced directly.  They shouldn't be taken lightly.  If you face this change and work through the feelings that go with this phase of the life cycle, you can move forward into what should be the happiest time of your life.

I'm Erik Edler, LMFT, a counselor/therapist serving the Central Coast.  I am located in San Luis Obispo (SLO), and I'm here to help.  I am able to meet with local clients in person, but I continue to see many clients by video as well.  Let me know what you prefer and we can talk about our options In addition, I can see clients from any part of California by video.

In the midst of the midlife transition, you'll need to really think about your life, your work, your relationship, what matters to you, how you've wasted time, and how you cannot afford to waste any more time.  There will be some things that you'll really want and need to change about your life, to live more truly.  There will be other things that may stay the same, but require a change in your perspective.

Are you entering midlife and asking yourself, is this all there is?  Is it all downhill from here?

  • Is your career stalled? Is your long-term marriage growing stale?
  • Are you frustrated with the changes to your body and your appearance?
  • Do you fear getting older and staying relevant at work and in your social life?
  • Are you divorcing, or divorced, and facing the fear of being alone, or the prospect of the dating scene again?
  • Did you work hard to have a marriage, a career, a home, and kids, only to feel trapped by these things now?
  • Did you work hard climbing the ladder only to find "the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall?"
  • Are you worried about how you'll deal with aging parents, as well as your own health issues?

Counseling for midlife crisis and midlife transition issues is one of my areas of specialization.  You would benefit from sitting down and talking about these things, enlarging your perspective and developing a plan for going forward.  Midlife is a time for old ideas to pass away and new ideas to come into play. You can experience the best part of your life, starting now.

The great psychologist Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of the field of psychology, famously said that really productive therapy can't happen until you're 40 and over!  I tend to agree! 

Some brief comments on midlife happiness:  A sense of Meaning is a more positive, influential force upon you (and those around you) than "happiness."  The psychological data tells us to stop chasing happiness and pursue meaning.  Having a sense of purpose in life, as opposed to seeking happiness, is tied to a significant reduction in the occurrence of both strokes and dementia.  It's been found that happiness is not something that can be pursued directly, but that it's a derivative of many other factors, an emergent outcome from several other factors that come before it, with a sense of meaning and purpose being at the top.  There's a lot to unpack here, but certainly we can go into more depth as needed when we meet and talk.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have, about how midlife issues are affecting you, and how psychotherapy, counseling, or coaching might help in making significant improvements to your life. You can call for a consultation for midlife counseling at 805-868-0767.

older couple

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Erik Edler LMFT