Want to Break Up with Your Therapist? Read This First
By Leslie Thompson
Breaking up is hard to do, whether it’s with your job, your partner—or even your therapist. But often, just as in personal relationships, there comes a point in time when you and your therapist no longer click. Perhaps you feel that you’ve worked through the issues that brought you to therapy in the first place. Or maybe you simply don’t feel like going anymore. Whatever the reason, there are a few things to consider before ending the relationship with your therapist.
First, it’s important to understand that except for rare diagnoses, good therapy is supposed to come to an end at some point. The role of the therapist is to help you change aspects of your life that you find troubling. The therapist is there to listen, offer an objective ear, and to help you find solutions for the problems you may be experiencing in your life. When you first begin therapy, it is essential to set clear goals for what you hope to achieve throughout the therapeutic process so both you and the therapist understand what you are working toward.
With that said, when considering quitting therapy, it’s important to mull over the reasons that prompted you to begin therapy and seriously evaluate the progress you’ve made. Although you may feel better after a few sessions, some diagnoses such as depression or obsessive compulsive disorder simply can’t be “cured” after a few weeks. But again, the ultimate aim of all good therapists is to help a patient develop the skills necessary to succeed in life after therapy ends.
If, after taking a good look at the progress you have made with your therapist, you recognize areas that still need improvement, quitting therapy is probably not the best option for you. However, switching therapists may be the answer. Finding a qualified therapist that you connect with can often be a difficult task, but in order for therapy to successful, you must feel comfortable sharing intimate details of your life with this person. Not every therapist will click with each and every client and no one expects them to. Trying out several therapists in order to gauge their therapy style is common and will help you choose the most appropriate person to work with.
If you’ve been working with a particular therapist for some time and begin to see your progress wane or even halt, be honest with your therapist. Tell your therapist that you feel like discontinuing sessions and explain why. The therapist may be able to offer some insight as to why your progress has become stagnant and provide alternative ways to achieve the goals you set forth at the onset.
Your therapist may try to encourage you to stay in therapy, so keep an open mind; he or she may bring up valid points for continuing to work together that you may have overlooked. However, if you still choose to leave therapy and/or a particular therapist, have a back-up plan ready. This may be another therapist you would like to see or even a different type of therapy you would like to pursue. Or it could even be reducing how often you see your current therapist.
Building a bond with a therapist takes time, so ending the relationship should not be done rashly. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of working with a therapist and look at the progress you have made together. If you after all this you still feel you no longer need therapy, be honest with your therapist but be open to the possibility of starting therapy again in the future. Sometimes all you need is a little break to reevaluate the role therapy plays in your life.