When Will I Know When I Am Ready To Stop Therapy?
How do I know when I will be ready to stop therapy? What are some of the reasons that clients leave therapy? What if the client feels as though they’re ready to end treatment, but the therapist doesn’t agree? How would you go about discussing with your therapist that you believe you’re ready to leave therapy?
If you are currently in therapy or thinking about starting therapy, you may have wondered when you will know when you are ready to stop therapy. This can be a difficult conversation for a client to approach with a therapist. A client may be worried about how the therapist will react to this discussion or may be worried about hurting the therapist’s feelings. It is important that clients feel safe and comfortable in the room with the therapist. As a therapist myself, I believe it is extremely important that my clients be the expert of their own lives and trust in themselves to recognize what they need out of therapy. It is very common for clients to stop and start therapy or to make progress and take a break for a while and restart at a later date. Sometimes you and your therapist may have differing views on terminating therapy and that is okay! There may be a lot of reasons as to why stopping therapy may be helpful at this time. Some reasons clients have ended therapy have included because they felt that they met their goals, scheduling or finances became an issue, and sometimes they have felt that they were not making any more progress at this time.
What are some of the ways in which you may know you are ready to stop therapy (whether it be for good or at least for the moment?). Here are some tips and suggestions I would recommend you consider:
· Do you feel that you are better able to manage the symptoms that originally led you to therapy (e.g., anxiety, stress, etc.)?
· Do you feel ready to rely on other supports such as friends, family, church, or other peer groups to manage stressors?
· Do you have a toolbox of coping skills readily available that you feel comfortable utilizing?
It is also helpful to engage in self-reflection when you feel like you may need to continue engaging in therapy but may still be unsure. Some helpful things to consider include:
· Are you considering stopping therapy to avoid addressing an uncomfortable or underlying issue?
· Have you discussed with your therapist suggestions he or she may have about areas or challenges in your life that you may not have yet explored together in therapy or maybe an area that you may not have identified yourself?
· Is it time to consider exploring different treatment options for therapy or maybe even beginning work with a new therapist?
These are various areas to consider but may be helpful when a client has reached a point in the therapy process to discuss ending therapy. Don’t be afraid to have these tough conversations with your therapist. That is what they are here for after all!
Written by: Victoria Gabriel, MA, LPC, NCC, CAADC