“Poised between past and future, every ending encompasses both hope and regret, accomplishment and disappointment, loss and gain. The inherent ambivalence of endings tests our capacity as therapist to tolerate ambiguity, to cope with both optimism and sadness in the dace f loss, and to hold onto a realistic appraisal of our strengths and shortcomings”. J. Holmes, 2001.
By the end of therapy we should be on the way to distinguishing between our ideal and real selves. An ending that is deemed “good” by both parties may happen once the client feels that they have established a secure base. A secure base refers to a trusting relationship between counsellor and client steeped in honesty, challenge and an ongoing strive for unconditional positive regard.
Clients can come to therapy to deal with unfinished business sometimes this can be grief from a loss, trauma – wanting to mourn for an ending they did not experience in the way they needed. As clients we need to let go of the things that bought us to therapy in the first place or developed over time from realisations during therapy, subconscious thoughts or self-ideals. So in this sense the secure base is to be in control and managing to cope with the pain and anger bought up from these events.
Endings are important and natural. We experience endings in many different ways in life and maybe the role of therapy is to model an empowered client ending?
We have endings in every session – saying goodbye, moving through topics and issues and the changing opinions we have about each other.
So it can argued that when we get this place, it might be a good time to end?
Jeremy Holmes, 2001. The Search for the Secure Base. Attachment Theory and Psychotherapy.