Saturday, 4 June 2016

Good endings - how vital they are!

Yesterday I dispatched the last piece of work of my Open University life - and with some mixed emotions. It is the right time for me to go - to move on to the next stage of my life and focus on the creative side. However the Open University has been part of my life since the late 1980s and I do leave with a sense of sadness and loss which I do not remember any other ending bringing in quite this way. I will lose part of my identity even though it will be replaced with the role of being a former OU tutor.

As a psychotherapist and as a client the ending of the therapeutic relationship was not easy - but then the decision to embark on therapy is not easy either. It takes courage to find a therapist, to trust him or her with your inner pain and to pour out your heart and soul.

Ending any relationship is not easy; it can be the most difficult thing we do in our lives as we handle the feelings of loss. In therapy the ending is usually begun by the therapist, although clients may also start the discussion. If an ending is agreed a date is set.  During this time how the client feels is examined together with the progress to their goals and a review of what has been learnt or gained.And also how they feel about ending what has been a significant relationship. It can be that significant issues are brought up which only the prospect of ending brings out. Feelings of both anger and anxiety can be around. And some cannot face the final session.

What I learned during this ending time in my own therapy was that I had developed an internalised therapist. I can in a time of  uncertainty find myself wondering how my therapist would have responded. For me therapy has somehow not ended - but is this my way of denying endings?

In times of difficulty or decision making I can also wonder how my grandmother would have responded and recall her asking me - "What is the decision you will be able to live with at the end of your life?"

As I reach the end of my Open University life I am facing a clear end - no more students, no more access to my online log in. Sadness combined with excitement. And also fear. How will I cope without the structure that this work provided? Will I be able to be creative in this vacuum? Have I learnt the skills of organising my time and prioritising that will still flourish?

In today's climate my ending to this part of my life seems on balance a good one. I have been able to make the decision myself rather than face redundancy as is happening to many -  and I have had so many great messages of support and affirmation from colleagues and line managers. Later in June I will be having a farewell celebration with colleagues - a classic good ending! I feel very valued and lucky.

And as I end this blog, I realise that Any Dream is virtually finished - albeit that I am delaying the sewing on of the hanging sleeve! This piece of textile art has been so precious in the making I confess     to being a little reluctant to letting go.

To conclude - this feels like a good blog ending, with nothing unfinished.

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