The Transition Bridge

Every time we are in any kind of transition, we walk over the Transition Bridge. Step by step we walk from the wellknown to the new. Transition always include that we have to leave something behind to be able to receive something new. Transitions always do something to us:

They take a lot of energy – in planning, being excited, worrying.

They divide our focus – we are still here but our minds start to travel in to the future life.

We might start to feel bored or restless about the daily life here and now.

We might find ourselves disengaging from friends and family, and even end up in conflicts more often.

We might be more sensitive and find ourselves cry more often.

Some of us don´t want to think about the future at all – we dive into whatever projects there are to just think about here and now.

Children need a lot of safety and security during transition. They also need help to sort out and label their emotions, by words or by playing. The transition bridge can help us to understand what we experience and what we feel.

The different steps in the Transition Bridge

The Transition Bridge and following steps are from the book ”Families on the Move”, by Marion Knell.


We all need to belong somewhere and to someone. When we belong we feel safe. I know who I am, and people around me knows who I am. I know that I am accepted, and I know the roles of myself and others. As I feel safe I can care about others. I feel at home.

Preparing and planning

This is most often fun and exciting, but can also be stressful. Where am I going? Where will I live? Is there anyone I can connect to?

Realistic Expectations

What will it be like to live there? Are there people I can ask what life is like over there? What will it feel like? What do I look forward to? What do I fear? Will I fit in?

Disengagement and withdrawal

When we start to plan and prepare ourselves, our focus starts to be divided. We also start to feel the pain of all the coming goodbyes. To make ourselves available for the future – and to reduce the pain of leaving what and these we love here, we start to disengage and withdraw. We can also experience that other people withdraw. We might also more often be in conflict with others. If we find ourselves withdrawing from others or often in conflicts with others, it can be good if we can express to them that we have started our grieving process and than find out good ways to say goodbye.

Good Goodbyes

Good goodbyes are about making it all right in my relationships and give affirmation to each other. It is about sharing emotions of grief with each other and set up farewell ceremonies. Don´t wait with the good goodbyes to the last day.


Grieving is about realizing that what I love will not be, I need to leave it behind. When a person dies we have a funeral, but what do we do with our grief when we are moving and leaving everything, a whole life, behind?


In the midst of the transition it might feel quite chaotic, both around us and within. Everyone in the family might be stressed up.

Find out about the new

What is it like to live here? Who are the people I can connect to? What are the activities I want to join? What food do I like?

Watch and listen

How are they doing it in this place? What do they talk about? Are there words they use that I am not used to? How do they dress? What do they do for fun? Which group do I want to belong to? Who seems to be safe people that I can trust and bond to? How are people connecting?

Find a mentor

Is there anyone that you can trust that can be my mentor? Maybe you need several mentors guiding me into different areas/groups.

New skills

Are there new skills you need to develop?

Find people who understand

Are there others like you? Who have grown up in many cultures? Where do you find them?


Ulrika Ernvik