When Saying Goodbye Really is the Hardest Part

When I learned of the news of my relocation, one of the very first thoughts I had was of immense sadness.  I was going to have to go through the brutal task of terminating with my clients.  These are clients who I have gotten to know over the past 2 years, many of them starting their journey in counseling at the same point in which I began my own. We have seen one another grow and progress in our respective lives.  The idea of not seeing them through to the end of treatment and not being able to ever know where they end up is difficult to process.  The counselor/client relationship is one that is so vastly unique than any other relationship.  No where else can you get to know someone so intimately and share such powerful moments while at the same time maintaining a professional boundary and let me tell you, sometimes that professional boundary is difficult to maintain.  I often find myself at home thinking about the various clients I see and wondering how better to assist them, where they are now, have they relapsed, are they engaged with counseling elsewhere. These thoughts are difficult to turn off and do not end once you walk out of the office doors, all that’s left is the hope they will succeed.  As a colleague once told me, “we plant the seeds, we just may not get to see them grow.”


3 thoughts on “When Saying Goodbye Really is the Hardest Part

  1. I’m a new MFT intern and I am co facilitating an addictions group at my internship site. I’m thankful for your posts because it gave me some ideas for group tomorrow! Thanks for taking the time to write and share!

    Goodbyes will probably be really hard for me as well, as I bond with my clients and they open up to me as well. I like the “we plant the seed” idea and I hope for my clients and yours that the seeds root and blossom. Are you going to a new agency or moving to a different area?

    Good luck to you!

    • Thank you for your feedback and I’m sure it was difficult for you! Being mindful of that, probably helped ease the transition. I actually ended up moving as well as going to a new agency!

  2. Leslie S Jaworski

    Wow! I am so glad I stumbled on your website! I am leading several substance abuse groups while I finish my masters degree in Mental Health and Addictions. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with new ideas that will stimulate my group members attention and also prove effective. I really love the ideas you shared and find your perspective on groups refreshing:) Thanks again!.

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