“Saying good goodbyes to your clients: A functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) perspective” by Mavis Tsai, Tore Gustafsson, Jonathan Kanter, Mary Plummer Loudon & Robert J. Kohlenberg

Abstract

Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) promotes client growth by shaping clients’ daily life problems that also show up in session with their therapists. FAP therapists create evocative contexts within therapy that afford clients the opportunity to practice, refine, and be reinforced for new, more adaptive behaviors which then can be generalized into their outside lives. In FAP, the termination process will vary from client to client depending on the nature of the client’s problems and targets. For many clients, the process can be a rich, multifaceted, final opportunity to evoke, reinforce, and promote generalization of clients’ in-session improvements, particularly improvements related to vulnerable self-expression in the service of intimate and close relationships. By making explicit agreements at the outset of therapy to participate in an intentional termination process, and by later providing an evocative structure for ending therapy with vulnerable emotional expression, clients have the opportunity to develop more adaptive behaviors in the context of relationship endings which can be a painful part of the human experience. Equipped with the skills of open-hearted communication developed from an authentic relationship with their therapist, clients can leave therapy on a trajectory of further growth in interpersonal connection and living more boldly.

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