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A Reflection on Change

Carly Jackson, Clinical Psychologist

When asked to write this piece I noticed I was initially drawn to the idea of googling the definition of ‘Change’ as a starting point. But I asked myself, “actually, isn’t change different for everyone?”. 

I am not claiming I am an expert on Change; but I have experienced Change in my life; we all have. I believe that what Change is, depends on the meaning someone makes of the Change event or experience. We are the experts of our own experience of Change. Holding this in mind I offer some personal reflections on what Change means to me, and what I have noticed about Change in my role as a Clinical Psychologist who supports others in times of distress. 

I believe Change is an individual experience. For example, some people announce they like Change, and others never want Change to happen. I am curious as to what allows people to experience different relationships with Change. I wonder if Change feels more comfortable when we perceive more control over it? Or when we perceive holding more power than the process of Change itself?

But, isn’t Change happening around us, or to us, all the time? If so, how do we cope or manage or not even notice this? Why can Change sometimes be sneaky like this?

People running at Porthcawl parkrun


Change feels less sneaky when we are drawn to define two points in time and encouraged to make comparisons between these. Then it becomes attractive to make a judgement between these two points, usually is it: ‘Good’; or ‘Bad’. I cannot help myself wondering: When is this judgement helpful or useful? Are there other judgements we could adopt? Why are we drawn or encouraged to place a judgement? What function does this have? And for who?

A recent experience of Change has been living with COVID-19. When it was new to our lives we talked wishfully about ‘the return to normal’ because we had noticed since the initial Lockdown that things had Changed for the worse. But as time passed, we began to say a ‘new normal’. For me this is an interesting Change in language. It may reflect how comfortable we have become after getting used to, or familiar with, the difference COVID-19 has bought to our lives. But this Change did not come easily. We are having to live through a state of crisis, unease, and uncertainty together to reach this point. 

Overall, Change means the movement of time forward. I perceive Change as constant; at times drawn into our awareness more than others. However, the reason why our awareness is ignited tell us more about our experiences of Change than the Change itself.