Ending Therapy – Celebration of a Healthy Relationship – Exeter Therapy

Healthy Relationship

Ending Therapy – Celebration of a Healthy Relationship

The experience of a healthy relationship is vitally important for our well-being. The counselling relationship can play a huge part in the well-being of clients. Clients usually engage in therapy because something is not quite right in their life, and they are seeking guidance and support from someone independent and impartial. Counsellors are trained in walking this journey with clients, however, they cannot walk the journey alone or for the client.

So exactly what is happening while in a healthy relationship, and what makes a good ending to therapy so valuable? Counsellors are trained to listen, be present, understand without judgement, and offer clients acceptance for who they are. Possibly for the first time in a client’s life, they can experience a healthy relationship in which they can be themselves without fear, judgement, or shame. They can feel safe enough to risk being authentic.

Once the therapeutic relationship is present, a client may face difficult situations with more confidence, because they are no longer alone in their struggle. They are now being attended to. Therapia in Latin means to “attend to”. To be attended to while on a journey of self-discovery and change can be highly comforting and reassuring. When we are young, we might have looked back at a parent for reassurance before taking our first steps, riding our bike without stabilisers, going off to school for the first time, or walking down the aisle. Therapy can provide that element of reassurance, without authority, pressure, or judgement.

Often, client’s unhappiness with the world around them is really unhappiness about themselves in the world. Unrealised dreams and missed opportunities can often lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and even resentment towards others for how we have become. Therapy is an excellent way of getting back on track.

A healthy counsellor/client relationship can bring about what is needed for healing to take place. Clients may experience being well, in the presence of another, i.e. the therapist.

When a client experiences the restorative healing benefits of a healthy relationship, they begin to realise they are ok in the world. This now means they no longer need the guidance or support of the therapist, and the relationship comes to a natural end.

We know how to end unhealthy or unwanted relationships. We generally lack experience in ending good and healthy relationships.  Ending therapy can be avoided by some. Sometimes people move, jobs end, or a loved one passes away, thus giving an unwanted or unwelcomed end to a good relationship. This can be experienced as loss or grief, which can be painful, so it is no wonder that we don’t linger too long in this experience.

Clients often become keenly aware of how important the relationship between therapist and client has been to them.  This acknowledgement, or at least awareness, can be profound. By ending the therapeutic relationship, the client is now saying ‘I am now accepting responsibility for my presence in the world and my well-being’.

Avoid sending a text when you are ready to end therapy, when possible.  Plan your ending, take charge of how it looks, have a cup of tea and a cake. It is worth the effort, and so are you.

To experience the closure of a good ending to a healthy relationship brings healing. Get in touch to begin that journey.

Also published at Counselling Directory

“How many sessions do I need?”

counting sessions

The age old question of “how long will it take” is something that I get asked occasionally. Firstly, I would like to address the concept of “need”. As a therapist, I don’t believe anyone “needs” therapy. I believe that there can come a time when we may benefit from talking to another person who is not a friend, relative or co-worker. My view is that there is no right or wrong number of session to have. One person may decide that a few sessions will help them to clear their minds while another person is interested in long-term goals and personal development.

Some factors in deciding on when to end therapy;

  • Finances – Therapy can be considered a luxury if finances are limited, however it can also be a great form of support to keep one going in the face of hard times.
  • Timing – As they say, “timing is everything” and I believe this to be true. It is important that clients come when they are ready. Are you one who acts as soon as a problem is noticed or do you wait until things are at a breaking point? Whatever your personal timing is is fine, however it will have a direct impact on results. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is appropriate in this case. 
  • Issue – Another factor could be the issue itself. Disagreements with ones boss over a pay rise can may be dealt with over a short period of time. Issues such as long term abuse or long term addiction can be more embedded and may benefit from longer term sessions.
  • Additional support – Working on issues without support can in some cases mean that the process can be protracted. It can be helpful to have a support network.  It is a good idea to access other means of support.  Pinpoint is a great site for additional support services.
  • Compatibility – Finding a therapist that you are comfortable with is important to the process.  We access and process emotional content when we are not under threat with less difficulty.  Therefore having a therapist that we are comfortable is an important factor. The longer it takes a client to feel comfortable, the longer the process will take. Likewise, the more comfortable the better.
  • Privacy concerns – Sometimes clients are concerned about privacy and may not wish for others to know they are attending therapy.  For this reason, I allow enough time between sessions for the next client to arrive in privacy. 

These are just a few of the factors that determine how long that piece of string is for you. Ultimately, having a goal in mind can be a big factor in the time you spend working with a therapist. Goal setting provides structure to therapy and identifies when you have reached a comfortable place to end.

No matter what the reason for seeking therapy is, counselling can be a valuable experience.  I work out of the centre of Exeter in Gandy Street and Pinhoe area, Exeter, which is near Broadclyst, West Clyst, Sowton , Cranbrook and Rockbeare.

Also published with Counselling Directory.