Not all counseling sessions end on a positive note. I was recently reminded of this as I struggled to conclude a challenging appointment with a married couple. By the end of it, they were more discouraged than when they came in. But we had to go, and there was no way to wrap up in such a way that we could all leave with smiling faces and joyful hearts. We were ending at a hard place.
So what does ending well look like in this kind of situation? Should the counselor just pretend to be happy even though she, too, feels sad? Should the counselor offer an upbeat Bible verse? Should we ignore the clock and just keep going until we reach a good place?
Lauren Whitman is a content curator at CCEF. Lauren is also a counselor and an editor for the Journal of Biblical Counseling.