Endings in therapy are discussed widely in mainstream literature, however, there is only a small amount of research that considers endings in therapy for people with intellectual disabilities.
Eight therapists were interviewed about their experience of ending therapy with people with intellectual disabilities. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).
Four superordinate themes associated with endings that go well were identified: ‘recognising’, ‘readying’, ‘reframing’ and reflecting’, with a fifth theme reflecting endings that were less successful. Participants worked hard to offer transformative experiences of endings and an overarching ‘super-superordinate’ theme of ‘facilitating transformative endings’ encompassed the findings.
Endings are a multi-faceted component of psychological therapy with people with intellectual disabilities and are significant for both client and therapist. We discuss implications for therapy adaptations and future research.