Ending Therapy

How long does therapy take?

It is difficult to predict how long therapy will take. Usually therapy ends when you and I decide that you have made satisfactory progress in achieving your goals. Some people achieve this in just a few sessions; others continue therapy for years before they feel they are ready to leave. Generally, symptom-focused therapy, such as overcoming an anger problem, is shorter, while an uncovering, insight-oriented therapy takes much longer.

Can I decide just to stop therapy?

You have the right to stop therapy at any time without further financial, legal, or moral obligations, other than those already incurred. However, it is a good idea to discuss your plans to end therapy well in advance so that you and I can discuss your progress and wrap up any loose ends. The longer we have worked together, the more sessions we should plan to use to bring our work to a close.That may be two or three sessions to review and wrap up. Some people decide to stop suddenly if difficult issues come up in therapy or with the therapist. Rather than just quitting at such times, it is best to discuss your feelings with me to see if we can work something out.

What if I feel therapy isn’t going well or I can’t afford it and have to stop?

If for any reason you decide to terminate therapy before your goals have been satisfactorily achieved, be sure to talk with me about why you wish to end prematurely. I want what is best for you, and if something isn’t working for us, perhaps I can refer you to another therapist. Or, if financial or other difficulties have arisen, perhaps you and I can find a solution that will allow you to continue therapy.

Under what conditions might Dr. Nash decide to end therapy with me?

It is my ethical obligation to discontinue therapy if I feel you are not benefiting from therapy. If this is the case, I will discuss the situation with you beforehand to see if we can find a way to make therapy more beneficial. I may also suggest we end our work if you repeatedly miss therapy sessions, even if you have paid for them or given adequate notice, or if you fail to pay for therapy promptly. Rude or disrespectful behavior, such as using loud and hostile language toward me or sending long or complaining emails, could also be a reason for my considering the termination of therapy. Repeated threats of suicide or suicide attempts can be the basis of my recommending that you seek a higher level of treatment than I can offer. If I feel personally threatened by your behavior, this could result in my ending our work together.

Be assured that such occurrences are unusual and rarely come suddenly in a therapeutic relationship. If either you or I encounter difficulties that might lead to termination of our work, let’s try and talk things out to see if we can avoid a negative outcome such as this.

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