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POSITIVE ENDINGS TO THE COUNSELING RELATIONSHIP

 
One thing that is often appropriate to do for clients, particularly if you are at a school setting, is to leave clients with something material that will remind them of your relationship and the successes they experienced as a result of engaging in that relationship. There are many creative ways to do this.
 
Below you will find two suggestions for concluding individual counseling relationships:


MARBLES

Purchase a bag of marbles, filled with swirls that make each one different. You could give each client a marble and communicate how they, like the marble, are unique and special. They can keep this marble with them to serve as a reminder that someone thinks of them that way and as a reminder of their positive relationship with you and the progress they made.


SURVIVAL KIT

Using a box, a Ziploc bag, or any other container you choose, select various items that represent something about that client, or a lesson that the client learned through the counseling process. For example, a Life Saver candy could represent the people for the client has been a “life saver” in the past. A rubber band could serve as a reminder of the importance of being flexible. A toothpick could remind your client not to pick on him or herself for the little things. A Band-Aid could represent the need to take time to heal wounds. A stick of Carefree gum could remind your client to take time out to play and enjoy life. You get the drift. You can get creative with your Survival Kit and it is a great way to leave your client with something tangible that reminds them of you, and reinforces the skills you have worked on with them throughout your relationship. Can you think of other keepsakes that would be appropriate for you to give to your clients?

Below are descriptions of two creative ways to provide closure during a final group counseling session:


ANONYMOUS NOTECARDS

One fantastic method I have seen used to conclude a group has been the use of notecards passed around the room and filled out by group participants. Each person is given a blank notecard. They write their name across the top and pass it to the person sitting to their right. That person then writes something that they learned about or from the person to their left. They could also write what they think of that person, as long is it is something constructive and/or positive. Once they are done, they pass the card to the right and that person writes their comments on it. By the time the card makes its way around the circle, the owner of the card has received feedback from everyone in the group but does not necessarily know who wrote what comment. He or she is then asked to read aloud the statements that others in the group chose to write about them. This is a wonderful way to help group members hear and own the positive things about themselves that others recognize in them after sharing the group experience. The cards are for them to take with them as a reminder of the process.


CONNECTIONS

This is a great way to provide visual representation of how each person in a group has an effect on everyone else in the group. Take a ball of string or yarn, large enough that it can be tossed from person to person to create a web. Have everyone stand in a circle and give one person the yarn. They are to hold on to one end of the yarn and offer up something about what they learned in the group or from a particular group member. Once they have made their statement, they hold on to the one end of the yarn and toss the ball to a fellow group member across from them. They make a comment about something they learn, hold on to the yarn so that they are creating a line between themselves and the person who threw the yarn to them, and they then toss the ball to another member across from them. Each member makes a statement and tosses the ball to a fellow participant, all the while holding on to the piece of yarn that comes from the person who went before them. Once everyone has spoken, you will see that a huge web has been created that symbolizes the connection that group members make with one another through the group counseling process. This is an excellent way to show how everyone is connected, affects one another, and how the things that each member brought to the experience have sustained the group.