Empty Nest Syndrome? Therapy May Help

You've spent the past several decades of your life raising your children. It is therefore completely understandable that you'd be a bit sad and struggle to adapt when they move out on their own. However, sometimes these feelings of sadness can become more pronounced, developing into a set of symptoms known as empty nest syndrome. Here's a closer look at this phenomenon and how therapy can help.

What is empty nest syndrome?

Empty nest syndrome is not simply feeling sad that your kids are no longer home. It's more than that. It's feeling like you no longer know who you are or what your goals should be now that you don't have to care for kids at home. It's feeling depressed and alone more often than not. Empty nest syndrome can have an array of negative impacts on your life. It may pose challenges in your relationships with your spouse, and also with your kids who are trying to claim their independence. 

How can you get help?

The earlier you recognize the signs of empty nest syndrome and seek help, the better. Look for a counselor who specifically has experience dealing with this syndrome. Many marriage and family counselors will be able to help you, as will general adult counselors. Feel free to schedule preliminary visits with a few counselors before committing to keep meeting with one who resonates with you the most.

How can therapy help fight empty nest syndrome?

Although every case is different, therapy for empty nest syndrome often centers around helping you find identity and confidence outside your role as a parent. Your therapist may help you reclaim hobbies that you gave up when you had kids. They may also help you explore new mantras you can repeat when you feel feelings of self-doubt starting to creep in.

Another important aspect of therapy, in this case, is learning to forge a different kind of relationship with your kids. They're still your children, and you still love them, but you need to learn to connect with them in different ways now that they no longer live in your house.

Medications like antidepressants are not always needed for empty nest syndrome. However, if your therapist thinks you may benefit from these medications and you agree, they can refer you to a doctor who can evaluate you and prescribe them.

Having your kids leave home is not easy. If you're suffering some degree of empty nest syndrome as a result, seek help from a therapist. For more information on adult therapy options, contact a local provider.