Trying to find your identity?

When we lose our identity - it can cause a number of issues such as anxiety, depression, loss of motivation. Not being the person we want to be can make us deeply unhappy. Therapeutic counselling with a suitable qualified counsellor for identity issues can help you gain some perspective and clarity.

What is Identity?

Identity in human development refers

to the stable,  characteristics of a person that defines them and makes them an individual.

Having clarity of identity requires a deep understanding of oneself, including one's own traits, preferences, thought patterns, your frame of reference, strengths, and weaknesses. Exploring and learning how you "work" from a psychological perspective is empowering and enables you to move forward in your life.

What is Self-Identity?

One's self-identity (also called self-constructionself-conceptself-perspective or self-structure) is a collection of beliefs about oneself. Generally, self-identity embodies the answer to "Who am I?". One's self-identity is made up of self-schemas, and their past, present, and future selves.

Self-identity is different from self-esteem: self-identity is a cognitive or descriptive component of one's self (e.g. "I am a fast runner"), while self-esteem is evaluative and opinionated (e.g. "I feel good about being a fast runner").

Self-identity is made up of one's self-schemas and entwines itself with self-esteem, self-knowledge, and the social self to form the self as a "whole". It is made up of the past, present, and future selves, where future selves (or possible selves) represent an individual's ideas of what they might one day become, what they would like to become, or what they are afraid of becoming. 

Who am I?

We can be so busy putting other people first that we can forget to listen to what the voice inside of you is saying. You could feel that the person you are looking for, who started off adult life with all of those ambitions, goals, and dreams about where they would end up is now lost or has disappeared.

Lots of people reach a certain point in their life and suddenly there is a realisation that they aren’t the person they thought they would be at this age. Or there might be a feeling of general unhappiness with their life and you don't know why. This can arise at any age or life transition stage, example's being young adults or women going through the menopause or heading towards this life stage. Identity issues are unique to the individual and their circumstances.

Identity is a ‘‘configuration,’’ Erikson (1959, p. 113) wrote, an ‘‘integration’’ of ‘‘childhood identifications,’’ ‘‘the vicissitudes of the libido,’’ ‘‘aptitudes developed out of endowment,’’ and ‘‘opportunities offered in social roles,’’ all working together, as it were, to confer upon a life a sense of ‘‘inner sameness and continuity’’ (Erikson, 1963, p. 261). An identity, moreover, should usher in 360 Imagination, Cognition and Personality 37(3) adulthood, a new stage in life wherein a person now understands ‘‘life in continuous perspective, both in retrospect and prospect’’ (Erikson, 1958, p. 111). As such, the person who ‘‘has’’ identity is now ‘‘able to selectively reconstruct his past in such a way that, step for step, it seems to have planned him, or better, he seems to have planned it’’ (Erikson, 1958, p. 112).

Identity - Cultural And Religious Conflict

I have professional experience of working with a client base who are struggling with their inherited or lived in culture or religion or perhaps both.  As a qualified counsellor in Harrogate, Wetherby and North Leeds I am able to offer a confidential non-judgmental space which is compassionate, empathetic and understanding to the struggle you may be going through. The types of issues that can arise and can be worked on (but not limited to) are:

  • Religious Inner Turmoil
  • Depression/ Anxiety/ Panic Due To Religion/ Culture
  • Sexuality Conflict & Confusion
  • Multi Cultural Acceptance
  • Relationship Issues Due to Culture/Religion
  • Interracial Relationship/ Marriage
  • Family Issues Due To Culture/ Religion
  • Changing Religion
  • Taking On A New Religion Due To Your Partner
  • Adapting To The Culture You Live In
  • Reverting Back To Your Religion
  • Questioning Your Culture/ Religion
  • Guilt Due To Breaking Rules Of Your Religion/ Culture
  • Confusion Over Your Or Others Culture

How can counselling help?

Counselling with a qualified counsellor may help you

  • discover and explore your self-identity in a safe, nonjudgmental space.
  • Once you have a strong sense of self identity i.e know who you are, you can think about how you compare to the person you think you want to be.
  • You might even find that you have different goals to the ones actually in your mind. I am available for long-term and short-term counselling sessions either online or at my private practice's in Harrogate, Wetherby and North Leeds. If you are looking for a counsellor in North Yorkshire please begin by reading about my approach and reading the get started guide. Or if you would just like a quick chat first read the ways you can contact me.


Erikson, E. H. (1958). Young man Luther: A study in psychoanalysis and history. New York, NY: Norton.

Erikson, E. H. (1959). Identity and the life cycle: Selected papers. Psychological Issues, 1, 5–165.

Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Norton.


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