Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes

Book Review

Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes

William Bridges


Making sense of life’s transitions is not always easy.

We can often experience a range of emotions – hurt, anger, anxiety, fear and many more. Mix in a dose of confusion and disappointment while trying to discover that illusive ‘next step’ can be a little overwhelming.

This book is practical and enormously insightful (and inspiring in places!). Bridges helps the reader understand the difference between managing ‘change’ and managing ‘transitions’, and to see how the end of one chapter can be the beginning of another.

His ability to confront the questions we all ask when we find ourselves in a transition is remarkable; questions such as “Why is letting go so difficult?” and “Why is this happening to me?” or “What do I do now?”.

He speaks to the key transition stages of:

  • Disengagement
  • Dismantling
  • Disidentification
  • Disenchantment
  • Disorientation

He argues it is not just the pace of change causing us to feel disoriented, but the fact that many have lost faith that the transitions they are going through are really taking them somewhere. This is just one of the problems he addresses when people have endured difficult endings.

Endings are the first phase of transition. The second phase is a time of lostness and emptiness, and the third phase is when life resumes an intelligible pattern and direction that puts our life on a whole new trajectory.

It is no wonder this book has had 41 printings!


Bridges, William. (2004). Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Transitions. Cambridge: Lifelong Books.