How do Support Groups End?

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

Support Groups.

The type of ending will depend on the type of support group you are in:-

  • Open/Ongoing groups: group members depart when they have no longer a need for what the group offers. It can be helpful to the group and the individual if the individual first discusses their desire to leave the group before they actually do.  Subsequently, an ending date can be agreed giving the group and the departing member an opportunity to work through the ending and to say goodbye.
  • Closed/Fixed term groups: the group starts with a predefined set of objectives and group members that work for a set number of sessions or goal(s). The intention here is that all group members end at the same time.  Sometimes this is not possible and an individual is free to leave the group as they need to.  It can be helpful to the group and the individual if the individual first discusses their desire to leave the group before they actually do.

How does Counselling 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).