270 – Looking Up Therapy Clients on Social Media

270 – Looking Up Therapy Clients on Social Media

Processing Endings – Pet Bereavement

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In Episode 270 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast – the last of this academic year – your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly discuss three new topics:

  • First up in ‘Theory in Practice’, we look at processing endings.
  • Then in ‘Practice Today’, Rory and Ken discuss their opinions on looking up therapy clients on social media.
  • And lastly in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Carrie Kearns about pet bereavement.

Processing Endings [starts at 02:44 mins]

This segment of the Counselling Tutor Podcast is sponsored by


  • WebHealer are the go-to provider of websites for private practitioners in the UK.
  • Established over 20 years, WebHealer offers a non-technical and fully supported service to help therapists grow their private practice.
  • Just one customer from your website each year pays for their service.

Go to WebHealer.net and use coupon CT100 for £100 off their "Do it for me" service.

When it comes to the end of your time with a group you’ve become comfortable with, it can sometimes be difficult to move on. Throughout this section, Rory and Ken discuss some of the feelings we might experience when processing an ending:

  • Recognise that these are endings within yourself – a chapter needs an ending for a new one to begin.
  • Endings can be hard to process, this is a normal and common response.
  • Think about what endings mean for you.
  • We often want to cling on, making promises such as ‘we’ll keep in touch’ – more often than not, these interactions eventually fade, drawing out this ending.
  • It is an individual experience, everyone will process it differently, some finding it more difficult than others.
  • Some people often yearn for what has been.
  • What ends is the group as it is, hanging on to what it used to be holds you back e.g. if two new people join a group, that group is no longer the group it used to be.
  • How healthy is your process? Are you struggling to adjust to a new group, always thinking about a past group?
  • It’s important to give new people a chance, get to know each other.
  • Embrace the fact it could be uncomfortable at first.
  • Journal, talk to your peers, friends, or your supervisor about these feelings of discomfort.
  • Be realistic, acknowledge when the end is coming.
  • It can be good to mentally prepare yourself for an ending.
  • A good way to acknowledge an end is to have a celebration of success e.g. a graduation.
Theory to Practice is sponsored by

Counselling Skills Academy

Learn counselling techniques by seeing counselling skills used in real sessions by qualified therapists.
Real sessions – real-life presentations – real skills.

Looking Up Therapy Clients on Social Media [starts at 23:38 mins]

When it comes to looking up clients online, it can be a question of ethics. In this section, Rory and Ken explore their own views on this:

  • You can't unlearn what you have learnt through someone’s social media, this could affect your ability to see the client as they present in the therapy room.
  • Do you consider looking up therapy clients on social media a breach of their confidentiality and privacy?
  • What would you be hoping to find through this? What are your motivations for looking at a client’s social media?
  • What if a client looks you up on social media/sends a friend request – maybe consider adding a policy on social media to your contract.
  • Refrain from rejecting a client’s friend request until you next see them, simply leave it – by rejecting the client without a clear discussion about why, it could lead the client to feeling rejected.
  • If you're feeling tempted to look up your therapy client on social media, take this to your supervisor. Hopefully you can get to the bottom of why you might feel this urge.
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Pet Bereavement [starts at 39:44 mins]

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Carrie Kearns about pet bereavement.

The main points of this discussion include:

  • There is still a stigma around pet bereavement.
  • ‘Disenfranchised grief’ – dismissed by society, misunderstood, not respected or treated the same as the death of a person.
  • Feelings of guilt, feeling the loss of the pet more than the loss of a person.
  • A different form of relationship than with a human, a different dynamic.
  • A pet could be the last link someone had of a family member or friend who has passed away.
  • Pets give some people a purpose, a routine.
  • Physical absence, loss of routine, loss of links with other people e.g. people they would meet up with during a dog walk etc.
  • Guilt around feelings of relief e.g. if a pet required a lot of medical attention or regular medication.
  • Feeling guilt for considering getting another pet companion.
  • The new companion shouldn’t be expected to be exactly the same as the previous pet - they are not a replacement, but a new companion altogether.

The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society is proud to sponsor Practice Matters.

NCPS (formerly NCS) are really excited to have launched their Children and Young People Therapist Register for counsellors working with the younger age group.

To find out more, visit nationalcounsellingsociety.org or simply click the button below.

Free Handout Download

Endings in Counselling

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