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As we age and increase self-awareness, we work toward creating a sense of self and identity. Our gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, interests, and other factors all blend together to form our unique identity.

Developing a greater understanding of the self and exploring our identity can help us feel more authentic and gain greater satisfaction from daily life. Values clarification may also be an important part of this process. Learning how to connect more authentically with yourself and others helps to build more fulfilling relationships and improves self-esteem.

If you’re struggling with some aspect of your identity, you may experience heightened levels of stress, depression, insecurity, and difficulty developing and sustaining relationships. You can learn more about the benefits of receiving counseling for identity issues on this page or by contacting me at Chelsea Twiss Counseling Services, LLC. 

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What are identity issues?

The majority of people I work with who are struggling with identity construction are just defining their own beliefs and developing their sense of self. This is a natural part of life. It often happens during times of transition. For example, moving from college life to being an independent adult. This time of change is when many people begin to explore and form their identity.

Another example would be someone who has recently become a parent and may be dealing with postpartum depression. Exploring and developing your identity is a natural part of life. While exploring identity and embracing changes and growth can be fun for many, others experience stress or discomfort surrounding this process. They may feel guilty about changing long held beliefs, or they may be confused by how quickly or completely aspects of their lives have changed.

Some symptoms you may experience if you’re struggling with identity development include: 

  • Mood or character instability. 

  • Changing beliefs. 

  • Feeling unsure about your true beliefs. 

  • Lacking confidence to support your beliefs. 

  • Avoiding being outspoken about your identity due to fear of offending others or causing conflict. 

  • Feeling like an outcast or that you don’t fit in anywhere. 

  • Having a hard time deciding what to do with your life. 

  • Vacillating between jobs because you never feel like you’ve found your place. 

  • Feeling your thoughts and desires aren’t valid.

Common psychological conditions related to identity development

When people struggle to develop their identities, they may experience a variety of co-occurring psychological conditions, including:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Chronic stress

  • Codependency

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Benefits of therapy for identity development 

Therapy can be beneficial in managing these common co-occurring conditions, but the main reason people seek therapy for identity development is to explore and develop various aspects of their identity. Counseling allows the opportunity to talk through personal thoughts, values, beliefs, goals, and desires. Most importantly, therapy gives you a designated time and place to think through your identity concerns and better understand who you are deep down, allowing you to live more authentically.


Get started learning more about who you are today!

Identity can feel grounding and defining. It gives us stability independently and in relationship to others. If you’re ready to explore more about your identity and build a more stable sense of self, get started by emailing me at I work with residents of Colorado and those who live in PSYPACT states.

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