|"I was delighted to read your article about retirement and knowing when it’s time to stop working, though saddened that the author chose to remain anonymous" |
|"Age is generally seen to be an advantage for counsellors and psychotherapists, rather than the drawback it is for some professions. But in the absence of guidelines about retirement, how do we judge when the time has come for us to stop? Two practitioners offer their personal reflections"|
A BACP member recently passed me a copy of your article ‘Retirement: how do we know when to stop’
Retirement and moving on
A BACP member recently passed me a copy of your article ‘Retirement: how do we know when to stop’ (Therapy Today, September 2011). I read it with interest having decided at the end of last year to terminate my membership of BACP and my registration with UKCP. I was 78 this year and had spent the last 20 years as a counsellor/psychotherapist. I find myself asking, ‘What is retirement?’ The word suggests to me withdrawing, going to bed, the end of things. But is it?
During my personal journey through life I have come to see it as ever changing and with continual development. Our physical bodies are said to change completely every seven years. I have been conscious of emotional and psychological development too and alongside this a growing spiritual awareness, often triggered by events which are sometimes happy, but more often not. They have all led to change and growth. Years of accompanying clients through these changes only confirms my belief that life is an unfolding of our true nature. As I have changed in my own life, so I have found that my clients are able to use their sessions more profoundly.
In recent years I have been interested to note the increasing emphasis in our journals on continuing professional development. I think this is important but not at the cost of continuing personal development which seems to be much less referred to once the initial hurdle of qualification has been passed.
I remember from my very first counselling course the tutor speaking of three kinds of purpose. They were: short-term purpose eg putting the kettle on; medium term purpose eg career, children; and enduring purpose – our life’s purpose, the reason why we are here. As I grow older this purpose takes a greater significance. I am conscious that I have more to do in this life. I don’t know what it is but feel a need to allow it to unfold and it is beginning to do so. Retirement for me is about moving on and I am ready for the next challenge.