Ending Therapy

The end of psychotherapy can be a difficult and emotional time for both the therapist and the client. Saying goodbye to a therapist can be hard for clients, who may have formed a strong bond with their therapist and may feel like they are losing a source of support and guidance. For therapists, it can be challenging to say goodbye to a client who they have grown to care about, and who may have made significant progress during the course of therapy.

Here are seven practical tips for ending psychotherapy:

  1. Be transparent about the end of therapy from the beginning: Let your client know from the start that therapy is not open-ended, and that you will be discussing an end date at some point. This can help prepare the client for the end of therapy and reduce feelings of abandonment.
  2. Address feelings of loss: The end of therapy can be a time of grief for both the therapist and the client. Acknowledge and validate these feelings, and offer support in coping with the loss.
  3. Encourage self-care: Emphasize the importance of self-care during and after therapy, and encourage the client to continue with any self-care practices they have learned during therapy.
  4. Use case studies: ask the client, given what you know now, what advice would you give to this person.
  5. Formulate around termination anxiety: Get the client to specify what they think will happen upon termination. What are the behavioural, emotion and physiological consequences of termination? Are they well founded? How can we test these assumptions?
  6. Provide resources: Give the client resources, such as contact information for other therapists, support groups, and self-help books, so that they can continue to seek support after therapy.
  7. Be available for check-ins: Let the client know that you are available for check-ins after therapy is over, either by phone or email, so that they can reach out if they need additional support.

Ending psychotherapy can be difficult, but with the right approach, it can also be a time of closure and empowerment for the client. Remember that the end of therapy is not an end but rather a new beginning for the client.

Join us for our webinar on ending therapy

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