Life changes all the time, and challenges us. We learn to move with these changes, adapt and move forwards. Recently, a client ended therapy rather suddenly, after reporting a major recovery. I was told how the sessions had helped, and the pivotal moment, a specific intervention on my part, was pinpointed. I was told this was what had enabled them to change and adopt coping techniques. The client explained they were aware of limitations and challenges ahead, and that it wasn’t always going to be straightforward.
Despite this positive outcome, I was left wondering if I was a good enough counsellor during the sessions as this ending seemed rather abrupt. Was there something I said or did that might not have been in the interest of the client?
My reactions in therapy are shaped by the professional experience I have acquired treating a vast range of mental health issues, my own personality and my internal supervisor. So, in the rare cases when clients make an amazingly fast recovery within a few sessions, I can’t help but question how authentic they are being. Did they actually recover from what was an important issue in their lives within a few sessions? Did they in fact take in the sessions’ content and do the much needed work outside the counselling room? Are they really able to manage their feelings much more effectively now and continue without therapy? Or is it the case they do not wish to continue their self-exploration in the sessions and are looking for a way out? I shall never know. I do enjoy empowering my clients to make the decision to end therapy. And I therefore respect their choice.
I believe that every individual is at a different level of personal development and acquired resilience. The number of sessions a client has depends on what they wish to bring to counselling, how far they wish to go, and how comfortable they feel discussing what really is on their minds. The power to change is within everyone and therapy can help to unlock this. This may happen after many sessions or after a few sessions only.
I will always be in two minds about what happened in this instance, undecided. And this reminds me that living with uncertainty and not knowing is very much a part of life. So I will choose to stay with it and accept this is how it is.