An exploration of ending psychotherapy: the experiences of volunteer counsellors
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBackground/aims: Literature suggests that the ending phase of therapy can be difficult and challenging for counsellors. Despite this, there is limited research in this area and no study has specifically looked at the experiences of volunteer counsellors. This is the first study to explore the experiences and challenges of volunteer counsellors and the impact of ending therapeutic relationships. Method/design: A verbatim account of semi-structured interview data was analysed using thematic analysis. The participants were six volunteer counsellors working in a mental health charity. Findings: Three main themes were identified during the analysis—length of therapy, impact of organisational structure and strategies for managing challenges. Discussion: The counsellors perceived the fixed number of eight sessions as insufficient to address the presenting issues and problematic with regard to managing endings. The organisational structure (most likely influenced by the commissioning contracts) had a particular impact on these experiences. Endings were generally experienced as challenging; however, some of the participants perceived the time-limited therapy as helpful in working with less difficult and complex issues. Clinical implications: The study highlighted the need for an ongoing consideration of the impact of inflexible regulations/structure by counselling organisations and funding bodies in order to empower and enable these clinicians to practice and manage endings effectively. There is need for therapeutic settings to consider flexibility of therapy length and allow volunteer counsellors to offer their services with some degree of autonomy. Services could think of creative ways of offering interventions based on clients’ needs and complexity of presenting problems.
CitationLing LS, Stathopoulou CH (2020) 'An exploration of ending psychotherapy: the experiences of volunteer counsellors', Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, (), pp.-.