Rachel Goldsmith, MA, MSMFT

Just as there are many forms of therapy, there are as many reasons for why you may want to end treatment with your therapist. No matter your reason for terminating (the word therapists use to describe the end of a course of treatment) therapy, this is one context where you can control how you experience the ending of a relationship between you and someone important to you. While ending therapy can be challenging, there are a few ways you can make the most out of this transition. Here are just 3 tips for parting ways with your therapist in a positive manner.

  1. Talk about it… and do not wait. If you can talk to your therapist as soon as you feel like you may want to end treatment, you both can explore why that might be the case. Sometimes we get the urge to leave treatment just as an important insight is about to occur, or when you are facing a new challenge that being in therapy will push you to face. Your therapist can help you see whether or not leaving therapy right now makes sense or serves a different, perhaps non-therapeutic, goal.
  2. Be honest about why you want to terminate therapy. Whether you feel like you have reached your therapy goals or you perhaps simply need a break, be honest about your thoughts and feelings. If you feel that you and your therapist are not a good fit for one another, say something. A good therapist will use this feedback to guide his or her work in the future.
  3. Plan. Abrupt endings do not always serve either the client or the therapist well. Endings are an area rich with meaning, and to cut that process short can impede learning and the chance to consolidate what you gained from therapy, plan for future issues that may arise, and honor the relationship formed between you and your therapist. Mark your final therapy date on the calendar, talk about what it will be like to no longer see one another, and plan for what you may want to do to close this relationship in a way that feels authentic for you.