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Quarter-Life Transitions

Young Black woman wearing a headscarf smiling.

We Welcome Young Adults in Their 20’s and 30’s

Periods in our lives that involve a lot of change are stressful. There’s no getting around that, and the early twenties to mid-thirties, known as the “quarter-life” transitional period, is one of the most challenging times for many people. You’re just starting out in your career, your family, and your independent, adult life.

At The Center for CBT in New York City, we offer therapy for individuals navigating quarter-life transitions to provide support, guidance, problem solving and stability at this tumultuous time. Keep reading to learn more or reach out to us at any time to get started.

What are Quarter-Life Transitions?

The quarter-life transition is a period characterized by a lot of change, which triggers doubt, worries, stress, and disappointment related to just about every aspect of life. From careers and family to relationships and finances, the quarter-life transition, when you have to start “adulting,” is complicated and difficult, which is why many people talk about experiencing a quarter-life crisis.

What are Quarter-Life Transitions?

The general challenges and discomfort of this highly transitional period may be enough of a reason to reach out to a therapist during your quarter-life transition, but some specific reasons people give for seeking therapy at this time in their lives include:

Read on to learn about a few of the ways we provide support to clients in their 20’s and 30’s.


As a child, you probably dreamed of this moment. You’re finally done with school and ready to start your real life. Whether you have a job waiting for you or you’re still pounding the pavement for interviews, this is a big transition. If you’re struggling to feel confident or stable as you navigate this change, therapy can help you find perspective and achieve your goals with less stress and anxiety.


When you’re finally on the career path you’ve been working for, it should mean you hit your stride, feel confident, and go to work feeling secure and excited to face the day, but this almost never happens. Instead, getting started in your career leads to a lot of underlying struggles. Imposter syndrome, feeling like you don’t belong or are faking it until you make it, is a common concern early in careers. Perfectionism and workaholism can also arise. We all want to do our best and contribute to the workplace, but when you find yourself unable to enjoy your life, it’s time to find some balance. You might have trouble advocating for yourself with your boss or manager. Whether you’re still working to find your career path, you’re just starting out, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, therapy can help you find that elusive work/life balance to achieve a greater sense of satisfaction and purpose every day.


At this point in your life, you are likely balancing a range of financial stresses. From figuring out how to start saving some of your paycheck to buying a home to supporting your family, money can be a huge source of worry, and with fewer jobs available, lower income levels, economic instability, and higher levels of debt, it’s no surprise people are having trouble managing their finances without triggering a panic attack. If you’re struggling with finances, therapy can’t help you balance your checkbook, but it can help you adjust the way you think about and relate to managing money in order to reduce worry and anxiety.


It starts when we’re kids, the narratives about finding the “one.” Whether you were a starry-eyed kid and teen practicing your wedding in the backyard or you decided that was bunk and rebelled, this is the point in your life when you may start feeling the pressure to find the one and settle down. From the awkward moment when you’re the only actual bachelor left at the bachelor party to explaining (again) that you don’t have a partner at the family reunion, the not-so-subtle messages that you need someone else to be a fully formed person seem to be popping up everywhere. Even if you’re dating or actively looking for someone, all the pressure makes it difficult to decide if you really want to be with this person or you just want to be with any person. Therapy is a place where you can take a deep breath and make space to decide what you actually want and need from a relationship and go out and find that. If you’re in a long-term relationship or married, you may find yourself changing and growing at this point in life. If your relationship isn’t changing and growing with you, it may be time to consider relationship therapy. These sessions can help you develop and maintain a thriving relationship, work together as relationships evolve, and explore your relationship needs in a safe, judgement-free environment.


Whether you feel ready to start your family, you were surprised with a pregnancy earlier than planned, or you’re becoming a step-parent, you may want to consider working with a therapist at this time of transition. There are so many different ways of becoming a parent – birth, fostering, adoption, step-parenting – and for every kind of parent, there is a unique set of struggles and challenges waiting to surprise you. Having a trusted therapist in your support system ensures you have someone there to help you avoid potential concerns, navigate challenges, and be the kind of parent you want to be and your child deserves.


During this highly transitional part of life, it’s not surprising that many people struggle to sustain their friendships. Maybe your friends have all started having children and you’re not there yet, or your career is really taking off but your friends are still finding their fit in the workforce. It can feel really lonely when you friends can’t relate to where you are in life anymore. You don’t necessarily need to lose relationships because you’re in different places, but while you work to find ways to sustain meaningful long-term friendships, it’s also okay to allow space in your life for new friendships. During therapy, we can talk about the importance of allowing for change and evolution in relationships, and develop skills to find and explore new friendships.

How Does CBT Help During Quarter-Life Transitions?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach to therapy that works by helping people uncover the ways that thinking, feeling, and acting are interconnected. By developing strategies to change behavior, individuals impact their mood and thinking. Processing difficult emotions, changes thinking and acting, and adjusting our thoughts shifts mood and behavior. It’s amazing how small changes to any of these three areas can have a ripple effect, impacting all parts of your life. In addition to CBT, our skilled therapists also utilize a range of other therapeutic strategies, including somatic experiencing for trauma recovery.

What can I expect during therapy?

Your therapy plan will be as unique as you are because we collaborate with our clients to develop individual therapy plans. That all begins with a thorough intake process. During the first session or first few sessions, we’ll talk through your past experience with therapy, current struggles that bring you in to see us, and the results you would like to see from working with your therapist. Then, we’ll create a plan for your therapeutic work. Over the course of your therapy sessions, your therapist will continually check in and assess your progress toward achieving your goals. We’ll work with you as necessary to adjust your plan and ensure you’re moving in the right direction and achieving the desired results.

Who Offers Therapy for Quarter-Life Transitions?

Each of our clinicians has years of unique training and experience that allow them to provide therapy using specific approaches that work best for certain clients. Our clinicians who provide therapy for quarter-life transitions are featured below, and you can learn more about them by visiting our team page.

What Should I Do Next?

When you’re ready to begin therapy, we hope you’ll consider contacting The Center for CBT in New York City. We offer a safe space where you are free to be who you really are and express yourself and your values authentically. We embrace, value, and welcome people of all sexual orientations, genders, and racial identities. The Center for CBT in New York City makes beginning your therapy journey simple. You can get started any time by completing our online consultation request form. One of our team members will be in touch within 24 business hours to answer your questions.

Choose Your Path
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