When the therapist says ‘Goodbye’- Using attachment theory to explore endings imposed by the therapist
A workshop for counsellors, therapists and supervisors who want to consider the impact of forced endings which might include:
• maternity leave
• moving house
• illness in the therapist or her family
We are likely to face one or more of these challenges in our working life and taking time to reflect on the ethical and clinical implications can help us when we face sensitive choices. For therapists who are approaching ‘peri-retirement’ the workshop could provide a space to reflect on the ambivalence about ending and perhaps to clarify the choices about timetabling closure and informing clients. The Covid-19 pandemic will have coloured or even precipitated some of these experiences and we will hold that in our reflections.
The imposition of a forced ending could be on the one hand a rich opportunity for deeper engagement, and on the other an intrusion of the therapist’s own needs and an irreparable break in the frame which compromises the work. With attachment theory as our guide, how can we work in a way which minimises the harmful impact of this abandonment and maximises the opportunity?
This workshop aims to help therapists:
• Identify our assumptions about a good enough ending and how we can facilitate that.
• Recognise the meaning to a client of a forced ending and the ways this may impact on the remaining months of work.
• Reflect on the therapist’s ambivalence about imposing an ending – for whatever cause.
Learning will be through presentation, questions, discussion, experiential exercises and sharing.
Anne Power has qualifications from The Bowlby Centre, Westminster Pastoral Foundation, Tavistock Relationships and Relate. She has taught on supervision and therapy trainings at The Bowlby Centre, WPF and at Regents University London and has a private practice in central London for both couples and individuals. Her book, Forced Endings in Psychotherapy, explores the process of closing a practice for retirement or other reasons. Her published papers explore attachment meaning in the consulting room and in the supervision relationship. She is currently researching and writing about logic versus magic in partner choice: random romance, arranged marriage, and dating sites – what’s the difference?