Because today is my last day as President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I am thinking about closure.
As I wrote in another blog post about closure,
Closure is important, in order to move on.
There is no right or wrong way to do closure.
Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.
I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure. Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.
Here’s what I’ve written, so far, about closure in my final letter from the President:
As I’ve thought about writing this, my final letter to you as President of NSGP, naturally my mind has gone to thoughts of closure. (Personally, I don’t like the word “termination”, because that sounds SO final.) As I have learned from my trainings at NSGP (and as I often tell people in my “Coping and Healing” drop-in groups) a good-enough sense of closure is critical in transitions — allowing us to appreciate what we’ve shared together and to move ahead better equipped for future challenges.
In my groups, we often discuss the insufficient and disappointing closures with family members, friends, work situations, organizations, and other important aspects of our life, and how this lack of satisfying closure in important transitions can keep us stuck. During these challenging days, when we might be feeling uncomfortably stuck, closure is especially important.
So what helps with closure? Saying what feels left unsaid.
Naming what you got.
Naming what you didn’t get.
Discarding what is not serving you well.
Later today, I will facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group on a telehealth platform (which I sometimes call “The Home Version of Coping and Healing”). At the end of the group, the participants will hear me, as usual, acknowledge the importance of getting closure in the “wrap up” section of the group. I will introduce wrap-up by explaining, again, what helps with closure. I will invite discarding “what is not serving you well” by showing this to the group:
That’s the magic waste paper basket, an important part of my Coping and Healing groups. If you throw something away in the magic waste paper basket, it will either go away or come back less powerful. Here’s an incomplete list of what people have thrown away in the magic waste paper basket:
- difficult people,
- unhealthy behaviors,
- negative self-talk,
- cognitive distortions,
- pain, and
Do you see closure in these other images?
We’re working on getting humane closure with our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer.
I’ll get closer to closure by quoting this comment from YouTube about Opeth’s “Closure”:
1 year ago
The abrupt ending pisses me off. I need closure!!
Alex Mercer needs closure. Do you?
Gratitude helps me get closure, every day.