Termination of psychotherapy is a topic covered in great detail in professional circles, but it’s not uncommon for clients to be unfamiliar with how to handle the end of a therapy experience. A tremendous amount could be said about the meanings of endings, factors contributing to premature endings, or the process of mourning the loss of a therapy relationship–perhaps I’ll cover some of this in greater detail another time. For now, I’m just adding the following brief policy statement to the Outpatient Services Contract, effective for both current and prospective clients:
You and I both have the right to end our work together at any time.
If at any point I believe that our work together is no longer effective in helping you reach your therapeutic goals, I will discuss it with you and, if appropriate, I may decide to end our work together. In such a case, I would offer you referrals to other recommended professionals.
If at any point you are thinking about ending our working together, I would encourage you to talk with me about it, so we can reach a shared understanding of the reasons to stop therapy and an agreement about when to do so.
Once you and I have agreed to end psychotherapy, I recommend setting a date for our last session and using the remaining sessions to discuss the ending. Focusing together on the experience of termination can often be of value to review the course of work we have done together, to identify areas that you may wish to continue to address on your own, and to talk about how it feels to end our working relationship.