How does Counselling End?

A brief overview of how counselling comes to an end

This FAQ is about counselling – individual or couples.  For information on ending Support Groups click here.

Brief/Focal Counselling – individuals only.

If we have agreed on a set number of sessions for brief counselling, then both you and I know when the sessions will be coming to an end.  The end is in sight at the beginning, so to speak.  Therapy continues for the fixed number of sessions, with the ending already somewhere in conversation.

Open Ended Counselling – individuals and couples.

Open ended counselling allows for more flexibility in counselling work. At the beginning of the work we’ll have discussed what you need from counselling. As therapy progresses we will begin to notice that the original reasons that you had come to counselling are becoming no longer so prevalent. This will be one of the signposts that suggests counselling might be coming to an end. 

However, it is often helpful to have a planned ending.  Planning an ending helps us decide when and how therapy will end.  This can be more helpful than simple stopping counselling without notice. For example: we might agree to end counselling in six sessions time, using those sessions to review where we’ve been, what it has been like for you in counselling, what has changed, what do you notice is different for you now when compared to first beginning our work.

Once we have agreed a date for ending we will intend to end therapy on that date (for some clients – but not all – it can be a little difficult to really end, so agreeing a date and sticking to it – talking about all the things that are coming up for the client – can be helpful for the ending process).

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