Contrary to what one might expect, one of the most difficult aspects of completing a course of Counselling or Psychotherapy is, for some, the ending itself. The final stages of therapy, as much as the ending itself, may serve as a reminder of other endings that have been experienced in life or may simply be an emotional process of stepping away from what has been a meaningful personal experience.
For some, there may even be a sense of sadness at saying the inevitable goodbye to the Therapist; a figure of constant support who has seen the client through various stages of personal difficulty and who will have helped the client to achieve personal insight, self-awareness and often some form of significant change.
It can feel, to some, that the Therapist has become a friend. The Therapist is not a friend, but is merely a professional who regards the client positively. It can feel as though the Therapist is such a significant presence, that the idea of the Therapist no longer being available can trigger a feeling of anxiety, or even resentment, in the client as the final stages of therapy progress. This is not uncommon.
The Therapist Understands.
Counsellors and Psychotherapists understand that the closing phase of therapy, and the ending itself, can sometimes feel sad for their clients. They also understand that seeing a client through to completing therapy offers the client a considerable sense of accomplishment. Some, or all, goals will have been achieved, some personal development will likely have taken place and some form of change will usually have resulted; offering the client the opportunity to view the rest of life in a more hopeful way. Of course, therapy is only one part of change; the most important aspect is whether the client will leave therapy and go on to put all of their learning into practice. Those that do, often describe therapy as truly life-changing.
The Therapist can only serve to help the client to find understanding, to develop their coping skills, to recognise the life choices that they face and the benefits and pitfalls of these choices. It is then for the client to take that forward, into the rest of life, and to decide whether to change his/her self or their situation. This cannot be done for the client.
A Privileged Role.
As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist, myself, I feel privileged to have played a part in helping many people through personal difficulty and it is always a joy to watch a person grow and develop as a result of the experience of therapy.
My only sadness is that therapy is not so easily accessible to everyone and that therapy is not offered to all children; for if we were to learn about our emotions and how to manage them, as children, we would be far less troubled as adults and we would have a far healthier, kinder and more stable society as a result.
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