chapter  10
Pages 6

Reaching the end of a period of therapy is a big step, and, like any rite of passage, it can be associated with considerable stress, which can be manifested in a variety of ways and which can represent a signi˜cant challenge to even the experienced therapist. Helping clients end their relationship with their therapist and to broach the world and their relationship with their partner and family on their own needs to be respected is an important and often di«cult event, and many people will need considerable help and support throughout this period if they are to emerge safely and successfully on the other side:

Realizing that the time has come to bring a period of therapy to an end is a decision that can be as momentous as the one to embark on therapy in the ˜rst case. Often, feelings of mutual respect and even a¦ection have grown between couples and their therapists, who have

often been the only ones to listen to their most heartfelt feelings and to assist them in communicating with each other as never before. In some ways, therapists know more about couples than even their closest friends and family members, and it is unsurprising that sadness is one of the emotions most commonly accessed at this time; knowing that one is about to “lose” a therapist can feel a lot like losing a cherished friend. ese feelings can be minimized by keeping couples focused as much as possible on the many real achievements they have accomplished and on the better future together than they have worked so hard together to attain. For example, a client might say, “Gee, I am really going to miss these sessions. ey’ve become the only time in the week when I really get to talk about the problems I worry about, and ursdays just aren’t going to feel the same anymore.” e therapist may answer, “I guess ursday evenings may feel a little empty for a while, but with everything you’ve learned I am sure that you will be able to broach the topic of your problems on your own, too. How about setting aside a little time every week when you can both sit down and use the vocabulary that you’ve learned here to talk about any of the issues that have come up in recent days?”