Why "endings" in therapy are important
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Tracy Foster, Dip.Couns (MBACP)
15th May, 20150 Comments
Ending therapy can be as anxiety provoking as starting it in the first place. A good counsellor/psychotherapist will discuss an approximate number of sessions with you, building in regular reviews to reflect on your progress, what might still be outstanding or unexplored with you and how end of therapy will be addressed.
Ending therapy is you starting afresh with renewed thought processes, how to deal with feelings and emotions and more effective coping mechanisms. It’s your opportunity to discuss with your therapist your progress and goals and your new techniques to help you reach them.
While it might feel that you are moving forward with your issues in a positive way and dealing with things well between sessions, it can be ineffective to just end your therapy without speaking with your counsellor first. Of course, you may feel that therapy is not working for you or you don’t like your counsellor, so it’s helpful to address any of these issues with your counsellor so that they can talk this through with you or refer you to someone else if required. Counsellors are non-judgemental and empathic.
Therapy is not designed to be continued for the rest of your life so that you become dependent – it’s there to help you become independent.
It not only looks at dealing with past and present issues, but also to take into account possible triggers that may re-surface in the future. None of us have a crystal ball to predict our future, so it would be unrealistic to believe that we will sail into the sunset feeling positive forever more and negative emotions will never surface again. With our mind whirling around 60,000 thoughts per day, it may be inevitable that one might rattle your cage and leave you feeling a bit wobbly. Therefore it is important that you feel emotionally stable and able to cope in the future when therapy ends.
Alternatively, you may have chosen to end it yourself without exploring this with your therapist, feeling all is well in your world and “where’s the need to continue”. Ask yourself the question, “am I feeling anxious and feeling the loss of a relationship” if you are anticipating ending in this way, as your therapist will help you explore these powerful feelings that loss or feelings of abandonment might feel like to you.
There are no set rules that therapy has to be once a week at the same time, you might like to discuss with your counsellor a review session one month after ending, to see how your new techniques are working or need tweeking.
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