Gay Midlife Counseling

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Midlife is often a time a complex challenges and new and difficult feelings.  Gay men trying to navigate through the complexities of midlife can really benefit from finding a counselor, therapist, or coach who relates to them, who really listens, and who can offer good guidance and feedback that really helps.  I'm here to help you through this process. 

Midlife can be a challenging phase for anyone, and may be especially difficult for gay and lesbian people.  I often work with gay men who are working through the process of coming out in midlife, often after having been in a heterosexual marriage, and often with children.  For those who are already out, issues of aging, of career, and of relationships may become urgent areas of focus.  It's a unique process of for every gay man, and therapy can be a great help with this process. 

Midlife, which can be broadly defined, is an important time of potentially exciting personal growth.  A good transition must take place in order for all that comes after it to be positive, healthy, and successful. 

The Gay Midlife Crisis: It’s a Thing
by Adam Blum, February 3, 2017, The Advocate

The author writes: "If you’ve ever taken a psychology class then you know that the famous psychologist Erik Erikson theorized that there are eight stages of development over our life cycle. I’m in stage seven, which is called “Generativity vs. Stagnation.” It occurs between the ages of 40 and 65. It essentially states that if we don’t feel like we are adequately caring for others and a part of a larger picture, we will feel stagnant. Dr. Erikson read me like a book."

The healthy version of the midlife crisis is the midlife transition, and it can actually be the doorway to the best part of your life. Counseling and therapy for midlife issues is a wise choice for making the transition and going forward successfully.  Midlife, which can start as early as 40 and last as long as 70, is one of the developmental stages of a human being's life, one that everyone must go through, but which some will succeed at, and some will not. 

Just like a toddler learns to walk, and an adolescent learns independence, and a young adult learns responsibility, so a person at midlife must meet the challenge of this particular stage of life.  In the field of psychology, the midlife stage is known as Generativity vs. Stagnation.  You will either achieve the goal of Generativity, or fail and fall into Stagnation.  Keep in mind, these are psychological  concepts, not material ones.  Are you entering midlife and asking yourself, is this all there is?  Is it all downhill from here?  This time of potential transformation can be exciting and positive. 

Stagnation means you remain self-focused, constantly worried about your changing appearance and how others judge you; where you've ended up financially; worried about all you don't have, or all that is slipping away from you.  These values revolve around staying a sex object and/or a success object, as much as you can, for as long as you can.  You may frantically try to keep up, but you know you're fighting a war of gradual retreat.  It can feel frightening and desperate at times. 

In order to win the game, you need to change the game.  Generativity is the profound realization that true happiness comes from embracing the ultimate values of goodness and compassion.  It's a basic re-ordering of one's values hierarchy.  It still means that you care for your health and your appearance; there is still strength, beauty, and sexuality.  There are still new adventures to be had and new dreams to pursue. 

But there is also peace, power, and confidence based in the real core values.  To be in a position to give kindness to others, instead of needing it from others.  No matter how many lifetimes we have to come back to learn this, the lesson will remain the same!  The process can be painful; but the only thing more painful is trying to put it off as long as you can. 

"The Search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.  To become aware of the possibility of the Search is to be onto something.  Not to be onto something is to be in despair."  Walker Percy

My office is located in Long Beach, at the boarder with Seal Beach, and I am very accessible from Huntington Beach and north Orange County.  If you're dealing with issues related to midlife challenges, I would be happy to help. Please feel free to give me a call at 805-868-0767. - Erik

My Areas of Expertise

Book Recommendation: 

Golden Men: The Power of Gay Midlife 
by Harold Kooden 

golden men the power of gay midlife

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Erik Edler LMFT