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The Ending or Termination phase of client/social worker relationships tends to be a fairly neglected area in social work literature, relative to beginning phases of professional relationships.  There can be emotions commonly experienced, for both the worker and client.  “Getting the ending right” has the potential to significantly enhance what has come before this moment in the relationship, or to detract from gains made.  This is an area where the worker’s use of self, and awareness of his/her own history and impacts around endings can be especially important in creating the best possible outcomes.
This presentation will briefly explore various ending scenarios, whether contact has been brief, or longer, whether imposed by an agency or Employee Assistance Program, or a more mutual and natural ending, whether client or worker initiated, and will focus on the importance of client engagement, empowerment and ownership of the ‘fruits’ of the time spent together in endings, and/or transfers.

Learning objectives:
• Broaden understanding of potential impacts of loss, and grief, with endings or the termination of a client/worker relationship.
• Reflect on our own experiences of loss and endings and bring greater awareness here
• Offer tools to support laying the foundation, often in a first session, for well supported ending outcomes with the potential to enhance the total relationship experience



Mary Leslie is a Registered Clinical Social Worker with the BC College of Social Workers, a member of the BC Association of Social Workers and is currently the BCASW representative to the CASW private practice committee.  She is a clinical member of, and continues to study with the Satir Institute of the Pacific ( She received her Masters of Social Work from the UBC School of Social Work and was a sessional faculty member there from 2008 to 2013. Mary’s social work career spans over 30 years, primarily in healthcare and private clinical practice. She trained and supervised volunteers for Fraser Health Cancer Centre (BCCA)’s Therapeutic Touch Clinic, 1998-2001.
Mary has had a private social work practice for 15 years, currently in North Vancouver and Burnaby, including EAP clients.  She has consulted for nurses, physicians, social workers and counsellors, has presented at a number of conferences and workshops,  including UBC Continuing Education, (2005) “Widening the Lens: Deepening the Practice”, integrating spirituality into professional practice.  She has co-authored “A Creative Model for a Post-Treatment Group for Women with Cancer”, in The Canadian Journal of Counselling, Vol. 37:1(2003). Her interests include building bridges between conventional and more holistic or complementary care and integrating a spiritual focus in her professional practice. She recently moved to Sidney, BC, but is continuing to travel to the Vancouver area twice monthly to see clients.