Loss of Identity/ Role

Is this your issue?
Clients with this problem describe it in a variety of ways:

  • I don’t know who I am.
  • I need to find myself.
  • I don’t feel quite real; my voice doesn’t feel like it is coming from myself.
  • I identify with many roles in life, but I can’t quite find what I want to do.
  • I have to have very defined and rigid roles, or else I feel an existential dread and anxiety.
  • In conversations, when the identity is threatened, I feel that I have to rigidly defend my point of view.
  • I feel existential dread if my self-identity role is taken away.

This problem usually occurs when a person looses their role in life. It turns out that for some people, the rigid, role-bound self-identity was a defense, used to avoid feelings of annihilation and dread in the core of their body. If their ability to play out their role is blocked for some reason (they are a teacher who is fired; a mother whose children have left; and so on), they start to feel the dread and try to either hold onto the old role, or live a new one to hold the feelings at bay.

Treatment is quick and simple, typically taking two treatments of between 2 and 3 hours. It involves regression to an early developmental event, followed by the use of standard trauma-healing techniques. The biggest issue is the adjustment time needed after treatment, which can last for weeks. During this time, the client finds themselves discovering who they are outside of the rigid role(s) they had. We don't recommend the client make any major decisions during this period, until their sense of themselves stabilizes.

Revision History
1.0 Jan 6, 2010: First draft of the treatment process.