When you think of the word ‘ending’ what do you think about? Ending a relationship? Finishing a good book? Leaving a job? Changing hairdressers? Death? You’re right. These are all endings, and the more of them we experience, the more you will likely form a pattern of how you deal with endings overall.
“When I explain the importance of endings to my clients I talk about therapy in terms of tidying up the wardrobe of your mind – in order to create order, first you have to drag everything out, dump it on the floor and begin to sift through it!”
The longer you stay in therapy, the more thorough your organisation can be, and the more time you give to an ending, the more time you’re giving yourself to put it all back in an order that works for you.
There’s no point in spending ages sorting everything into organised piles, if when it comes to putting it back you shove it all in together. Therapy is a process of taking apart everything you think, with the aim of only keeping the thoughts that are helpful to you. In giving time to a good ending you give yourself time to really see the progress you’ve made, and earn the experience of a mutually beneficial ending, without lingering regrets, sadness or anxiety.
As well as offering a positive experience of endings as a whole, ending therapy is a chance to close all of the doors you’ve opened during your time working on yourself. The process of therapy whether long or short will likely have shaken up the way you think, and that deserves your respect. In fully completing the work you have begun you are showing yourself respect for the hard work you have put in, and leaving the door open for you to return to self reflection.
The idea of endings in therapy is to experience a healthy ending – once we have experienced something once, it is a lot easier to replicate it in other aspects of our life as opposed to trying to bring it about out of the blue with no help.
So what is a positive ending? Good endings might be like graduations – acknowledgement and celebration of what is ending, with a view to what the future will bring.
Honoring what came before, be that years of happy marriage, or of struggles is an important way to move forward without lingering doubt. If we can end in a way that leaves us feeling that we have thought through all possibilities and made a decision that works best for us, then we can end without regret.
If we don’t take the time to think everything through then there might always be a fear that there was more to achieve, more to learn, more chance for connection which we let get away.