The End....or The Beginning
Ending is the final phase of a therapeutic relationship with me and it is an important part of emotional growth.
Ending any relationship for most of us is not something that comes easily, or is second nature. In fact, ending a relationship may be one of the most difficult things we do in our lives. Many people simply don’t know how to handle the feelings accompanying the loss, and so it can be a very trying and stressful time even under the best of circumstances.
The end of the psychotherapy relationship is a difficult phase of therapy. This phase is perhaps the second most difficult one next to actually making the decision to try out psychotherapy in the first place and pour your heart out to a complete stranger (albeit a professional).
How do you know when you are healthy enough to say goodbye to your therapist and how should a therapist handle it?
With rare exceptions, the ultimate aim of all good psychotherapists is, well, to make themselves obsolete. After all, whatever drove you to therapy in the first place — depression, anxiety, relationship problems, you name it — the common goal of treatment is to feel and function better independent of your therapist.
To put it bluntly, good therapy is supposed to come to an end.
But when? And how is the client to know? Is the criteria for termination a “cure” or is it just feeling well enough to be able to call it a day and live with the inevitable limitations and problems we all have?
The term “cure", I think, is illusory — even undesirable — because there will always be problems to repair. Having no problems is an unrealistic goal. It’s more important for clients to be able to deal with their problems and to handle adversity when it inevitably arises.
That is why I created ‘Signs of Serenity’ and hang them in the waiting room of my practice for you to keep reading when you come and go.
When you can honestly say that you recognize, understand and are living all signs, then you are ready to end.
SIGNS OF SERENITY
Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm; it is peace within the storm.
• An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen
• Frequent attacks of smiling
• Feelings of being connected with others and nature
• Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation
• A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience
• An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
• A loss of ability to worry
• A loss of interest in conflict
• A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
• A loss of interest in judging self
• A loss of interest in judging others
• Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return
• Gaining the ability to help others without expecting anything in return, even friendship
As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and that includes psychotherapy. Rest assured, however, that if you need to return to therapy in the future because you lost your serenity, then I will be waiting for you.
Love & Laughter …
- “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to
mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or
not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present
moment wisely and earnestly.” - Buddha (B.C. 568-488)
© Copyright 2019 Ola Stasiak-Brough, M.A.
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