Experts in the Media

Dr Marjorie Collins – ABC News

Clinical Psychologist & Neuropsychologist, President Institute of Clinical Psychologists

Parents suffering from empty nest syndrome reflect on their ways of coping with children moving out.

…But Dr Marjorie Collins, the president of the Institute of Clinical Psychologists, said it was important to recognise empty nest syndrome is not a “clinical condition”.

“Empty nest syndrome is probably more significant in our culture today, as we largely live in nuclear families, so a change in the family structure or living arrangements impacts on families to a greater degree than in cultures where extended family is more involved with one another,” she said.

Like Ms Pearce, Bernadette Pfitzner, a mother of three children aged 31, 29 and 24, also grappled with a feeling of emptiness.

Feelings of loss can come along even in the years leading up to a child leaving home, Dr Collins said.

“It is a transition that takes place over a period of time,” she said.

“But it is important to recognise there are positive aspects to this transition, as the parent comes to redefine themselves apart from the role of active rearing and support of children…