How and When to End Psychotherapy

How and When to End Psychotherapy

“Well, that’s it, this psychologist has already got me, it’s time to finish!” – this thought far from a reason to end therapy. What then is the reason? And how do you report it? We’ve put together a guide to help you figure it out and get it right.

Except in rare cases, therapy may not last for a lifetime. It is important to complete it competently, at the stage when the time has really come.

It’s too early

Often, people drop out of therapy when it becomes annoying or annoying. This is a major mistake: most often it is these emotions that indicate that during work you have come close to something deep and important. Because of this, internal resistance, because “digging up” traumas, resentments and fears is not a pleasant occupation. 

Below are reasons to think and talk with your psychologist, but not to cut off the shoulder. 

Negative Emotions

Initially, you liked the psychologist, you were satisfied with the therapy – but suddenly everything changed. You may experience something similar:

  • The words, gestures, the behaviour of the psychologist began to anger and annoy.
  • It seems to you that the psychologist asks “wrong” questions irrelevant to the case.
  • Before therapy, there is a feeling of fatigue, heaviness, you do not want to go.
  • You don’t feel like doing the exercises and homework that the psychologist gives you, they seem “stupid” and “ineffective” (even if you haven’t tried them yet).

The emotions you feel push you to end the therapy. But most likely they are a natural part of the process. Resistance is expressed in this way: in negativity, fatigue and unwillingness to move on. If you overcome it, you can come to qualitative changes.

However, these emotions should not be left unattended either. Discuss them with a psychologist – it will be useful for him to know how you feel. This will help you adjust your therapy and better understand your progress. 

Plateau Effect

Sometimes, it seems that therapy just stopped working. Before that, there were insights, changes, emotions – and now the sessions seem empty. Simultaneously, you cannot say that you have solved your problem – it’s just that the work has stalled. 

The plateau effect was normal. During this period, your brain processes the discoveries and emotions that you received during therapy. It needs time to form new neural connections. Treat this as a halt on a hike, in which you restore strength and remember how much you have already gone. 

Summary: if your problem has not yet been solved, but something has begun to bother you, it is too early to end the therapy. But it’s time to raise this issue at the session. We tell you how the discussion can develop further, and when it is time to end the therapy. 

How and When to End Psychotherapy

If the Psychologist Doesn’t Fit

So, you have firmly understood that this is not a difficult period. The psychologist you started going to for therapy is not right for you. Perhaps you doubt his competence, or simply failed to establish contact. As a rule, this is already noticeable at the beginning of therapy. What to do?

You may be tempted to stop attending sessions without giving a reason. After all, why waste extra time and money if you are already sure that you will not continue? But you need the final conversation first.

Therapy is a model of relationships with people. In it, you can “act out” what you are afraid to do in reality. In the office of a psychologist, you can gain experiences that will be useful to you in the future. Words of honor that therapy should be stopped are training for future (unfortunately inevitable) breaks in relationships: with a partner, friends, at work. If you are used to “running away” and are afraid to communicate your decision directly – now it is especially important to do this in a safe environment of psychotherapy.

Even if the specialist is incompetent, the final conversation will help make sure of this. Exceptions are cases of gross violation of ethics, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. In these cases, contact should be terminated immediately. 

If a psychologist is competent, he or she will help you articulate and work through your feelings about the end of your relationship. Do not be afraid to upset – psychologists are ready for such situations.

How and When to End Psychotherapy

Summary: Even if a psychologist isn’t the right fit for you, you can still learn a lot from the situation. It is important to personally inform about the decision, to speak out your thoughts and feelings.

If The Therapy Came to an End

The goal of any therapy is to make the client free, independent and responsible for his own life. This cannot be achieved if the therapy is lifelong. If you feel that the necessary changes have taken place, you may be ready. 

We do not recommend leaving therapy without talking to a psychologist. This is important for both you and him. The psychologist will give you support and valuable recommendations, and in return, he will receive a full understanding of how the work went. Here is the action plan we recommend for completion:

Communicate In Advance

Is best done in 2–4 sessions. Tell the psychologist that you feel the strength to move on your own. You should not be afraid or ashamed of this because for a psychologist, these words are a sign that he helped you. 

Ask for support Resources

Books, Articles, Techniques – The psychologist can suggest resources that will be support in the future. After all, the end of therapy does not mean that you stop working on yourself. It’s just that now you will do it more autonomously.

Discuss Further Action Plan

Therapy does not have to end “once and for all”. Say that you can solve another issue or in case of a breakdown. This does not mean that the effect of the therapy was not strong enough. Coming back from time to time is fine. 

Discuss what issues you can write and call a psychologist in the future.

Consolidate Outcome And Give Thanks

In the final session, you can discuss the outcome you have achieved with therapy and how it affects your life. Thank the psychologist and yourself for the work. After all, you have completed an incredibly important project!

Summary: If therapy is completed, then you have reached the goal. Discuss this with a psychologist, talk about a plan of action and find supportive resources in the near future. You can return at any time. 

Passionate mental health advocate providing resources to those in need. Enjoys learning through reading and documentaries. Aiming to promote mental well-being.
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