Robert E. Reichlin, Ph.D.

Houston Psychologist ∙ Psychotherapist ∙ Geropsychologist ∙Bellaire, Texas

Stages of Adulthood

Emerging Adulthood

Young men and women in their twenties are faced with two significant tasks: they must launch a career, and emotionally separate sufficiently from their family of origin to establish adult relationships with peers and begin the task of finding a life partner (See Robin Henig’s article, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” These are complex activities with many obstacles. Psychotherapy can be helpful in assisting the person in developing plans, focusing on vital issues, strengthening self-esteem, and overcoming the effects of self-defeating behaviors that made successful achievement and effective communication difficult. Establishing effective self-care lays the foundation for healthy adulthood.

Middle Adulthood

Competing demands from many sources make mid-life (~30-60+) particularly difficult. One is often confronted by the consequences of decisions made in the past (e.g. career, spouse) as well as the limits of one’s talents, opportunities for achievement, and enjoyment of work. Responsibilities for family and to one’s life-partner are many. Psychotherapy may involve assisting the person in working through unresolved conflicts from the past, identifying new areas of growth, and tempering a mature and flexible self-esteem. Developing and strengthening self-care is essential to these tasks. Life transitions and mid-life crises test one’s ability to maintain continuity as well as to change and adapt to new circumstances.

Late Adulthood

The challenge of late adulthood (70+) is to maintain a sense of vitality and openness to life while at the same time learning to compensate for physical difficulties and the losses of significant others that come with longevity. The kinds of difficulties people face at this time in life include grief over lost loved ones, especially spouses, difficulties with coping with physical impairment and chronic illness, and loss of independence (e.g. no longer able to drive). This also a time of discovery where a person begins to see in clear relief the contours of a long life lived, of appreciating the complexities of that life, and that the lessons learned, were learned for good reason.

If you find that my perspective on adult development resonates with your experience, and you are considering psychotherapy, send me an email or give me a call and we can schedule an appointment.

Robert E. Reichlin, Ph.D.