My friend Pumpkin’s massage therapist is leaving town. He’s moving away and she is sad. She’s happy for him because he is pursuing something he wants to pursue. She is sad for herself because she has gotten something out of working with him over the past several years and she would like to continue that work.
So going forward her preference would be for him to be happy continuing to live here, seeing her and his other clients for regular sessions. Her preference would be for things to continue the way they’ve been going, evolving, without the dramatic change of him going. It feels bad knowing that soon he will be gone. And even though he, the guy, might be around here and there in the future for work here and there it won’t be the same as it’s been. It feels like a loss.
And it is a loss, for her, and I imagine for him too. I mean she’s got everything pretty stable all around, the whole rest of her life staying the same, and he’s moving, changing careers, and doing all this and that. Just because he is the one who wants to make the change doesn’t mean it won’t be an adjustment for him. And since it’s not her choice for him to go she’s feeling it even more.
And she’s got that inner critic saying, “Whatever, Pumpkin, there are a lot of bodyworkers, just find someone else.” I used the nice auntie voice on her and told her it was ok to be sad about change and loss. I told her that if she was sad she could be sad with me and she did not need to be embarrassed about it.
I Googled stuff for her about termination of therapeutic relationships and there was quite a bit about regular shrink termination, particularly when the client terminates the shrink. There was a lot about how therapeutic relationships are kinda perfect so of course it’s extra sad when they end. The fact that they are perfect does not mean they aren’t real.
Basically, what I gather is it’s good if there’s a lot of lead time, a lot of discussion, and a lot of acknowledgement about the progress that’s been made, appreciations of everyone, pats on the back, tears of gratitude and admiration, that kind of thing. Openness to check-ins on the go forward is good. Re-capping of what’s been learned, what will be taken into the next chapter from the relationship is good.
I didn’t find anything about body workers specifically, or other therapeutic-type relationships that meet a need to be nourished in a particular way, personal trainers, hair dressers, life coaches, sports coaches, priests, whatever. But I liked all that stuff about re-capping and acknowledging gifts of the past while trudging forward. Change happens, welcome or unwelcome, and so do feelings. She has them, I have them, he probably has them too. And on we all go.