Children may be in counselling for one session only (Chapter 14) or in some cases for several years, with every possible variation in between. Whenever they have been attending for any substantial amount of time, the ending and the handling of it is going to provide a significant part of what can be taken away with them from the process of counselling (see Dyke 1984, on which some of this chapter is based). Endings may be long foreseen, for example when the counselling has been time-limited (Chapter 14) or when the child is leaving school. In these circumstances the work done on finishing the relationship and negotiating the separation can be of crucial importance. On the other hand, both when endings have been planned, and when they are not yet in view, circumstances may intrude, taking the child out of counselling without warning and therefore precluding careful preparation, for example if the child suddenly and unexpectedly moves school. Or after a thoughtful countdown, last sessions can get missed through illness, school events or other unforeseen disruptions. This can be painful for both child and counsellor, and the more one understands about the importance of endings the harder it can be when the ending does not go according to plan.
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