Feelings of loss with endings in Therapy
As a counsellor, forming a therapeutic relationship with a client is a deep and meaningful experience. Throughout the course of counselling, a bond is formed between the counsellor and the client, built on trust, mutual respect, and empathy.
When the counselling relationship comes to an end, is common for a counsellor to experience a sense of loss, and it may be an emotional experience for them.
The end of the therapy relationship can feel like the loss of a friendship or the end of a significant chapter in the counsellor’s life. A counsellor may also feel sad if the client choses to end the sessions before a planned ending, especially if the counsellor feels that there is still work to be done.
Strong therapeutic relationship
One reason for the sense of loss that counsellors may experience at the end of a counselling relationship is the nature of the therapeutic relationship. Counsellors are trained to be empathetic and to establish a strong rapport with their clients. They work hard to create a safe and supportive environment for their clients to share their innermost thoughts and feelings. Although it is a professional relationship, it still does not stop the counsellor finding it difficult to let go when the counselling relationship ends.
Another reason for the sense of loss is the impact that the counselling relationship can have on the counsellor’s life. Counsellors often form a deep attachment to their clients and may feel a sense of fulfilment from helping them through their struggles. When the counselling relationship ends, the counsellor may feel a sense of emptiness or purposelessness, as they no longer have that client to help. Knowing that the relationship cannot continue can bring up feelings of sadness.
Process the feelings
It is important for counsellors to acknowledge and process their feelings of loss at the end of a counselling relationship. This may involve reflecting on the progress that the client has made and the impact that the counselling relationship has had on both the client and the counsellor. Supervision is a good place to process the emotions associated with the end of the relationship.
If the client ends the relationship
If the client choses to end the counselling via text or email and not return to sessions, the counsellor may feel they have not accomplished what they want to do, and may feel a sense of frustration or disappointment. Sometimes this leads to the counsellor start doubting their own competencies and question themselves. Imposter syndrome may play into their minds.
the sense of loss that counsellors experience at the end of a counselling relationship is a testament to the meaningful connection that they have formed with their clients. It is a reminder of the importance and value of the work that they do, and the positive impact that they can have on the lives of others.