Experiences of Ending Psychological Therapy: Perspectives of Young People who are Looked After
Baron, Hannah Leigh
Background: According to the existing evidence base, the experience of ending therapy, from the perspectives of adolescents who are looked after, is substantially under researched. Moreover, the ending of therapy is highlighted as an important phase of the therapy process and previous research into ending therapy indicates this as a valuable area of research. The available literature indicates that those with a history of loss may find the ending phase particularly challenging. It was hoped that the research findings may assist Clinical Psychologists and other therapists to make sense of how young people experience ending therapy, and may also highlight ways in which therapists can support looked after young people through this transition. Aims: The study aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the way in which young people who are looked after make sense of ending psychological therapy. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six looked after adolescents who had recently ended psychological therapy. The transcripts of the interviews were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results: Four master themes emerged from analysis: inextricable link between therapy and therapy relationship, ambivalence, means of coping and moving on from therapy. Implications and Conclusion: This study highlights the need for careful and on going consideration of the ending phase of therapy with this population. It also gives further support to the significance of the therapeutic relationship and consideration of this at the end of therapy. Areas for future research are highlighted, notably the value of conducting further research with looked after young people, to explore factors such as culture and gender on the experience of ending therapy.