Knowing When To End Therapy

A complicated mix of feelings arises when a person contemplates ending therapy. It is usually a bittersweet moment: on the one hand you have reached your treatment goals, but on the other, you are saying goodbye to a person and process that has been immensely helpful.

That is, of course, the ideal scenario.

In other cases, you might be thinking of quitting because you aren’t seeing the results you wanted. Perhaps money has become tight, and although you feel a change coming, you cannot afford to wait around until it happens. Or maybe things between you and your therapist have devolved.

At Growth Thru Change, we support termination at any time and for any reason. Keeping clients in treatment longer than they want to be is not only unethical, it is illegal. However, we do also think it is important that the client feels free to bring his or her reason for leaving to the table. Something like a money shortage, for example, does not mean therapy needs to end. The therapist and client can come up with a plan to reduce the fee until the client gets back on his or her financial feet. Something like a rupture in the relationship, on the other hand, will be respected and explored. It is crucial that clients are able to air their grievances and therapists are able to hear helpful feedback. The termination discussion is often one of the more fruitful experiences in both the therapist’s and client’s work.

In every scenario, it is important to keep in mind that the termination is for now. Most therapists believe in the credo, “Once a client, always a client.” Growth Thru Change certainly does. Whether you come back in the future to your former therapist, a new therapist, or find a different therapeutic activity, the need to make sense of our lives never goes away. Saying goodbye for now should never feel like saying goodbye forever.

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