The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma

By Monica Lanyado | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Holding and letting go: some thoughts about ending therapy 1

Nina Coltart (1996) has commented on the oddness of ending a (therapeutic) relationship that is clearly so important to the patient and the way in which 'We have clothed this oddness in theory, technique and familiarity' (p. 149). She goes on to describe in detail how important the authenticity of the patient-therapist relationship is to the patient and how absorbing and central it can become in the patient's life. And then she adds: 'So what do we do? We bring it to an absolute end' (p. 150). No wonder 'good enough' as well as difficult endings are so hard to think about.

The counterpart of the patient's attachment may well be that the therapist has felt him or herself to be in the 'caregiving' role, which it is not easy to relinquish when it is time for therapy to end (Bowlby 1988; Holmes 2001). This is the aspect of the therapist's role which relates to the ordinary parental task of letting go of their child in the interests of furthering growth and development-in all the small and larger steps that are required in life.

The counterbalancing processes of holding and letting go need to be addressed so that a point is reached where ending therapy acquires the quality of 'a page in life' being turned. This is where the idea of 'transitions' rather than stark beginnings and endings can be helpful. In ordinary life, progressions cannot take place without letting go of something-whether this be the infant letting go of the breast, or letting go of the side of the pool and realising that they really can float or swim. The reality is that developmental processes do not take place in isolation. Beginnings and endings belong together and remain essentially paradoxical in nature. And yet if the idea of, and capacity to, tolerate paradox during a transition can be maintained there is a richness of experience which compensates for the anxieties that change inevitably brings to the inner world.

One of the most paradoxical and at times challenging aspects of ordinary parenting is to be able to appropriately 'let go' of a loved child, because it is

1 This chapter is based on the 1999 paper, 'Holding and letting go: some thoughts about the process of ending therapy', Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 25(3):357-378.

-117-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Presence of the Therapist: Treating Childhood Trauma
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 145

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.