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  • Fe Robinson

When therapy comes to an end

Working as a psychotherapist, I have a pretty continual stream of relationships that begin, and end. It’s a natural feature of my work both that clients come and go, and that in between we have a depth of rapport, and a therapeutic intimacy that creates the safety we need to do the work they come to do.

Endings can be a difficult relational event for any of us, and this is often reflected when we come to the end of therapy. The thought of not having someone in your life can be challenging, particularly where the relationship has felt beneficial and supportive.

We tend to think of grief as being about death. In reality, we grieve in many situations. A relationship ending, a job ending or changing, moving home, a school move, changes to social groups or activities…anywhere there is change there is loss, and anywhere there is loss there is the potential for grief.

Learning to allow grief, and to grieve well is an essential part of healthy living. Holding things not too tight, not too loose, allows us to relate well, and also to let things and people go as we need to. All things pass, including us, and this is a truth of life that we are perhaps more shielded from than in generations past.

If change is difficult for you, or endings are particularly painful, it may be useful to look at the nature of your attachments. It may be that in an ending you have anxieties that are triggered. You may have limiting beliefs about yourself, or ways of relying on others to ‘complete’ you that give you existential pain when relationships run their course.

Having an ending is a dead cert when you enter into a therapeutic relationship, and this is as it should be. Effective therapy involves paying attention to this and making the ending as healing and therapeutic as it can be. Actively exploring endings and what they mean to you is crucial, as is kindly attending to what is noticed, and enabling healing where this is needed.

A good therapeutic ending can enable a change to the way you relate, and end, in other settings. If endings and changes in relationships are challenging for you, it may be that therapeutic support can enable a shift that makes grieving easier.


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