The attached is the first of two articles on ending therapy. Ending therapy is a topic I hear about all the time from friends, family, clients and other professionals and I’m pleased to have found articles on the subject. This first article addresses ending therapy either because it’s been successful or because it’s not successful. The number one, most common concern I hear from people is that therapy is going on and on and they don’t know when it should stop. The author here addresses the issue from the perspective meeting goals. If goals are met it may be time to say goodbye. If one has been in therapy for a while and progress is not being made in meeting goals it also might be time to say goodbye. It always strikes me when I’m discussing this topic with people how many of them have never discussed goals with their therapist or do not review progress in meeting them. They may have had something specific on their mind when they started, but they didn’t set goals and the sessions have evolved into a running dialogue on anything and everything going on in the client’s life. There is no discussion of whether progress is being made, or when it might be time to end.
I am horrified by these stories every time I hear them. An astounding number of therapists have been trained that the best therapy is about the process and not about goals, and that setting goals interferes with the client’s ability to progress. What, exactly, it is that these clients are progressing toward is beyond me.
Anyhow, my one big takeaway from this article is that clients should always make sure that they are clear on what their goals are, and are reviewing them with their therapists. If a therapist doesn’t want to make goals with you or doesn’t want to discuss progress, and a lot of them don’t, then it’s probably time to find a new therapist. If you have established, clear goals it will be easy to know when it’s time to quit. Really, the therapist should raise the issue of ending therapy, but if they don’t the only real challenge will be in raising the subject without fear of offending the therapist. A good therapist won’t be offended. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-ethical-therapist/201105/ending-therapy-two-good-reasons-fire-your-psychotherapist-and-how-