Our identity is made up of many things, including our backgrounds, experiences, values, passions and various life roles. In essence, our identity is how we view ourselves and other people, as well as how we are seen by others.
As we move through life, it is natural for our identities to evolve and change. Sometimes we can adapt to this but at other times it can be more of a challenge, causing an ‘identity crisis’. Identity crises can be triggered by many things, such as job loss, trauma, illness, divorce, bereavement, becoming a parent, ageing or moving from one life stage into another.
Also, if a person feels that a core aspect of their self is not being expressed or accepted, then this can be its own source of pain. Additionally, being a minority in a community and suffering from discrimination as a result can have a huge effect on wellbeing.
Identity issues can be very distressing, as they challenge our very idea of who we are. However, the right therapy can help you to explore these challenges, gaining a deeper knowledge of your true self and purpose.
Key aspects of identity that can be explored in therapy include:
Racial, cultural and ethnic identity
Examining the impact of growing up with a particular skin colour, or with particular cultural traditions, or in a particular environment.
Examining how we feel about and express our gender identity in relation to our biological sex. When this is in conflict, it is sometimes described as gender dysphoria. Some people choose to resolve this through the process of transitioning.
Examining how we feel about ourselves in relation to our sexual orientation and who we find attractive.
Examining the beliefs we have about the meaning of life, our purpose in the world and our place in the universe.
Signs of identity issues
Help with identity issues
These therapies have been shown to be effective with exploring identity issues: Psychodynamic Therapy, CBT, Art Therapy, ACT.
Your next step
Need confidential help with identity issues? Our team of compassionate, expert therapists are here for you.