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    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
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Eunoia

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How do you tell your therapist you're not coming back to see them? And when? At the next appointment? At the beginning of the session presumably? Do you have to tell him/her why? What if some of the reasons are related to concerns you have about their expertise/ability in a specific area or the way they made you feel during therapy??? Should you be honest or just be general and walk away....?????

This seems like an easy thing to do but I have no idea how to do this.
 

David Baxter

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I suspect most people do it by phone, email, or letter, for the very reasons you are having your own struggle: they worry about hurting the therapist's feelings or about perhaps the therapist getting angry, neither of which SHOULD happen of course.

You might just send or leave a message saying something like, "Please cancel my next scheduled appointment - I've decided to put this counselling on hold for now. I may contact you later when I feel better able to focus on counseling." (do give adequate notice of the cancellation though).
 

redstar

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leaving a therapist

In this situation it would depend a lot on how long i'd been seeing the therapist. I think what i would do though is ring and cancel the appointment then write a letter with your feelings about the situation and perhaps some constructive criticism. This could help them improve the way they work and thus be more helpful to people seeking help from this therapist.
It took going through about 5 therapists in the area I live before finding someone I really found excellent. Its so important to find someone you work well with. I hope this is helpful to you.
 

David Baxter

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I don't think it's necessary to go into much detail or explanation, unless you choose to or think it's important.

The most common reason for someone switching therapists is that it just isn't a comfortable match - the style doesn't fit, or the person reminds you of an ex-girlfriend, or something else quite idiosyncratic. It's not about the therapist being a bad therapist in most cases, although that does of course happen - it's more often just about the "fit".
 

Eunoia

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thanks. yes, I think those are exactly the reasons why I'm kind of worried, even though I shouldn't be- not to hurt his feelings or him getting mad and saying that say I din't put in enough effort (which I think I did in terms of what he gave me) or that he'd try to persuade me to stay, which may help somewhat, but I think for now the best thing for me is not to go there anymore... you're both right, it is about the fit. David, what do you mean w/ "adequate" notice? like a few days?? I've only seen him 3 times or so so I don't think I really need to go into specific reasons about they why's... so would you be offened by a note like the one you suggested? what would you do? just drop the case?
 

Retired

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Terminating a relationship with a therapist because of incompatibility is one thing, but how does one determine when the goal of therapy has been achieved and that the sessions are over?

Does the therapist establish a number of sessions to arrive a a predetermined end point or is the end point of therapy mutually decided as therapy progresses?

How would this conversation be initiated?
 

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Steve,

The way I would approach that would be to tell my therapist that I need to take a break to think about what I've accomplished and determine where I want to go next. I'd also say I feel that I've gone as far as I can at this time, but would they be available in the future if I needed them? That is, assuming that you would want them as a resource in the future. Otherwise I would say that I think I've gone as far as I'm able or want to at this time and leave it at that.
 

Banned

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Eunoia,

I agree with Dr. Baxter - you really don't need to go into detail. As far as how much notice you should give, I think it would depend on the frequency of your visits and even the personality of your therapist. If you're only seeing him/her once a month, you could probably say "This is my last visit". If you're seeing weekly, I'd probably suggest saying that the next visit will be your last, or maybe do two more if you can. I think it also depends on your therapist's schedule. For example, I see my therapist twice a week, and back in September I told him I wanted to take a break. It would have been our last session (so no notice) but after talking about it I stuck with it. However, I'm not part of his source of income; all I'd be doing is freeing up three hours (we meet for 90 minutes each time) a week for him to do other stuff so no notice was fine with him.
 

David Baxter

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what do you mean w/ "adequate" notice? like a few days?? I've only seen him 3 times or so so I don't think I really need to go into specific reasons about they why's... so would you be offened by a note like the one you suggested? what would you do? just drop the case?
The usual "rule of thumb" is 24 hours notice of cancellation, although personally I think 48 hours is more courteous.

I wouldn't be offended by receiving a voice mail or email or paper note. I fully understand that sometimes it's the wrong mix. I get people from other therapists for that reason and I don't doubt that I've had a few clients stop therapy with me for that reason. It makes perfewct sense to me - nobody is going to be the right person for everyone.

So there's really no need to feel guilty or bad for the therapist - it's part of what therapy is about.
 

David Baxter

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I'm not part of his source of income; all I'd be doing is freeing up three hours (we meet for 90 minutes each time) a week for him to do other stuff so no notice was fine with him.
To be honest, although I worry sometimes about whether a client will be all right, if I get a cancellation or someone calls to reschedule or someone decides to stop coming, really it means I now have a time slot for someone else who's waiting for an appointment - or in the case of a short-notice cancellation, I have an extra hour to work on a report or letter or documentation for an insurance claim...
 

Heather

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I left a therapist because I was unable to open up to her, she was great and did nothing wrong but there was a connection problem, I was too scared to tell her so as suggested I wrote her a letter and thanked her but I was honest and said that I would continue therapy with someone else. She was great about it, she wrote me a letter back and said that she understood and that I had made the right decision and she gave me a list of therapists that she recommended.

Anyway there is no need to tell them the reason but I thought that I would share my story, LOL.

Heather...
 

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Dr. Baxter -

I'm sure your time is very valuable so I see your point. I have a very flexible relationship with my therapist so we're always accommodating each other. We try to stick with Tues/Sat but sometimes it's Wed/Sun, etc. Everybody's time is valuable, and one of the things I really like about my therapist is that he accommodates my hectic lifestyle!

Sometimes I get really frustrated with my therapist, but I tell him I'm frustrated with him and why, and we work through it. Not alot of people have that relationship and I can understand how people can feel no connection. It took me awhile to feel connected with mine.
 

Eunoia

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ugh. I dread doing this. I don't know why, partly b/c of him but more b/c of whether i am actually making the right decision. I've only seen this person 3 times (w/in a span of 3-4 wks total) as I said and i'm supposed to go mid next week... so I could let him know Mon but I don't think he's in until Tue... so should I stick through it one more time or just hope he gets it at least 24hrs ahead of time (it'll def. be at least 24 hrs but probably not more). and yes they're very busy there so in a way I'm sure he can "stuff" someone else (or should I say accomodate someone else) in there... it's midterm time, it was packed in there the last time (at the uni). It's good to hear there is no reason to get mad, and I mean someone like Heather's old therapist sounds amazing in the way she handled it.

in terms of ending therapy b/c things are "done" that's totally different.. I guess it also depends on what kind of therapy (approach) was done and for what issue and where (ie. clinic, hospital, private practice)... usually you do get some kind of idea going into therapy about expectations and some will outline some kind of goal making timeline and review these periodically... other times you know your insurance will only cover for a certain amount of sessions, or a clinic might say they do ST vs. LT therapy.... but yeah if in doubt, ask! they won't just say one day "ok, this is the last time...", you'll get a heads up if either things are getting resolved or if you know the therapy just doesn't work (anymore)...
 

Heather

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I wish you luck in doing it, remember that you are doing the best thing for you and that is what is most important.

Also they would have heaps of other clients and not all are leaving.

Heather...
 

Eunoia

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thanks Heather. I don't know if I am doing what is in my best interest or what is best for me but I am doing what I have to do in order to not completely freak out. and to focus on other aspects of my life.

to further expand on my attempt to answer Steve's question on terminating therapy... I checked this out in one my texts and it said that when the client is able to handle problems independently it's a good time to stop. also, as I said, it's probably more likely to be a gradula process, w/ decreasing # of meetings per time span, and it's important to discuss feelings about termination and reasons why therapy was entered in the 1st place.

what I don't understand is the fact that they say a therapist should outline goals of treatment and approx. length of time to do so... I never received any of that. also, they said it is important to discuss at least briefly feelings about leaving therapy and possiblly returnig (as a side note I am not planning to retung to this particular person).
 

Heather

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Well I wish you well in sorting through your thoughts as well sweetie.

Heather...
 

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