I think there are several ways and reasons that therapy can end. It can end because the therapist isn't a good match for the client, or it can end because the client, therapist, or both feel they've gone as far as they can go together. Sometimes it can just take a break and resume a few months later...but usually the decision isn't made without discussion and mutual agreement. Often the therapist will have a "termination process" when a client is leaving as well.
When I left my last therapist it was after 18 months and I just didn't feel like we were getting anywhere or that it was the right match. With my current therapist, I've been tempted to take a few breaks but I've always discussed it with her so she knows where I'm at and what I'm thinking.
A therapist's job is ultimately to become obsolete, and a good therapist will be involved in the process to terminate or cut back, or provide a referral to someone who may be a better match.
Just to add to what Steve said, although goals are usually set at the beginning of therapy, I believe that those goals can change and be added to during the course of therapy and therefore add length to the originally time planned for therapy.
very good question lallieth, i am glad you asked. the thing i've wondered about is what kinds of feelings one might have as a good indicator that it's the right time to finish. does anyone have any insight into this?
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