How Do You Know If Your Identity Has Been Stolen – If you have found yourself questioning your values, your path in life, or the answer to the question, “Who am I?” you may be struggling with an identity crisis. Identity crises can often be resolved through a combination of self-exploration, therapy and help from a support system.
BetterHelp has more than 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a short questionnaire and be matched with the right therapist for you.
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An identity crisis is a personal, psychosocial conflict that often occurs during adolescence, although it can happen at any time. It involves confusion about one’s social role and sense of self.
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There is extensive research on identity that shows that identity development can be a difficult or tumultuous period in a person’s life. Erik Erikson, an important figure in identity research, theorized that we all go through stages of psychosocial development in our lives that challenge us to develop certain skills.
Erikson suggests that if you do not achieve the ability to establish some kind of identity or role within society and yourself, this stage can bring about an identity crisis (also called “role confusion”). If you feel forced into an identity, you may start to rebel, experience unhappiness, and even create a negative version of yourself.
An identity crisis can sometimes be a more general and vague term used to describe a number of challenging situations. In practice, you may experience an identity crisis, or it may be:
An identity crisis can cause feelings of frustration, being stuck, or not making meaningful progress. Furthermore, an identity crisis can affect feelings of depression or anxiety, making people feel dissatisfied with themselves and their lives.
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This type of personal crisis can be more difficult to identify in one’s own self, because the experience is more common than the symptoms of other mental illnesses.
An identity crisis can be a problematic and uncomfortable situation, but it is usually not dangerous. Anything else can stimulate the identity crisis and result in a serious situation – depression.
Depression is a general term for a group of depressive mood disorders that lead to low mood. It can also lead to self-harm, thoughts of death, and suicide.
Identity develops as a person progresses through various statuses. Depending on a person’s status, they may explore a new identity or strongly hold on to their current state.
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Many causes of identity crises are quite common and include major life changes, stress, or general progression through the various life stages.
All of these causes can affect how you function at a basic level. They can even be a shock, affecting your perspective of yourself, as well as your thoughts about your profession, relationships, values and interests.
While people can experience an identity crisis at any stage of life, adolescents are most susceptible. A study conducted in 2015 found that 37% of teens struggle with their identity, and 95% of teens reported feeling inferior at some point in their lives.
Adolescents are also less familiar with techniques used to deal with traumatic events, losses and changes in relationships, which increases their risk for stress and anxiety. While the development of self-worth is incredibly important for adolescents as they embark on the journey of self-discovery, people at any stage in life are at risk of experiencing an identity crisis.
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A crisis may sound like an obviously negative situation, but it cannot be entirely negative. Identity crises give people the opportunity to explore alternative ways of thinking, feeling and living. Identity crises can serve as a warning system to indicate that there is a problem. By recognizing the problem, the person is able to address and solve the problem. Hopefully, the end result is a happier, healthier individual who is more grounded in their identity and their values.
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While an identity crisis can be difficult to deal with, it is a common experience, and there are ways to cope such as practicing objectivity, challenging negative thoughts and taking time to express your values, wants and needs. Dealing with an identity crisis requires you to look inward and do some self-exploration without internal or external judgment.
If your identity crisis persists for an extended period of time, gets worse, or you are thinking about harming yourself or someone else, contact a mental health professional as soon as possible. Even if your identity crisis hasn’t caused any problems yet, a professional can help you determine what next steps will help you move forward in a positive way while increasing your comfort and safety.
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Talk therapy is the best way to seek help when experiencing an identity crisis. Therapy gives you the space to ask and process questions you may be struggling with, identify your strengths and values, do self-esteem work, and process what happened that led to the identity crisis itself.
There are quite a few options when it comes to overcoming an identity crisis through therapy. In general, talk therapy can help, but there are also more specific, evidence-based therapies that are common forms of treatment. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. It may also be helpful to try group therapy to hear about other people’s experiences as well.
Different therapies vary in their treatment time, but many will span between 8 and 12 sessions. That said, therapists can and often do suggest more sessions based on your unique needs, presentation of mental illness, and reason for treatment.
Whether you know what type of therapy you want to pursue to deal with your identity crisis or not, an online therapist directory is the perfect place to start your search. A directory of therapists will show you reviews, relevant information and cost details. It also allows you to filter for areas of interest, such as CBT, ACT, or Person Centered Therapy.
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After doing your research through an online directory, you will be better equipped to make the best choice for yourself. Choosing a therapist is a positive first step toward getting the help you need.
Studies have shown that those who commit to understanding their identity and exploring the facets of themselves are happier and healthier than those who do not. Just remember, while this is a very personal journey, you don’t have to go it alone.
Education is just the first step on our path to improved mental health and emotional well-being. To help our readers take the next step in their journey, Choosing Therapy has partnered with leaders in mental health and wellness. Choosing Therapy can be compensated for referrals by the companies below.
BetterHelp (Online Therapy) – BetterHelp has over 20,000 licensed therapists who provide convenient and affordable online therapy. BetterHelp starts at $60 per week. Complete a short questionnaire and be matched with the right therapist for you. To start
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Online-Therapy.com – Receive help from a caring professional. Online-Therapy.com’s standard plan includes a weekly 45-minute video session, unlimited text messages between sessions, and self-guided activities such as journaling. Recently they added Yoga videos. To start
Brightside Health (Online Psychiatry) – If you struggle with serious mental illness, finding the right medication can make a difference. Treatment plans for Brightside Health start at $95 per month. After a free online evaluation and receiving a prescription, you can get FDA-approved medications delivered to your door. Free assessment
Headspace (Meditation App) – Headspace is the leading mindfulness and meditation app with over 70 million members. Headspace offers guidance and exercises for all skill levels, including beginners. Free trial opportunity
Choose Therapists Directory – Find an experienced therapist who specializes in anxiety. You can search for a therapist by specialty, availability, insurance and affordability. Therapist profiles and introductory videos provide insight into the therapist’s personality so you can find the right fit. Find a therapist today.
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