how to tell your therapist you don’t need to see them anymore

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In this blog we will discuss how to tell your therapist you don’t need to see them anymore

We will also discuss some of the things you should do when taking a break from therapy and when is the time you should consider taking a break from therapy. 

How to tell your therapist you don’t need to see them anymore?

If you don’t need to see your therapist any more and you want to tell them that you intend to terminate your sessions with them, the best thing you can do is to talk to them directly and let them know of your intentions. 

When you are able to meet the therapist or talk to them either in or out of sessions, bring up your intention to break from therapy or from your therapist. 

You can say something like:

“I really appreciate the work that we have done so far and I believe that I am at a good place right now. I would like to discuss with you my intention to stop therapy.”

You can also add your reasons as well even if it means seeing other therapists. You can say:

If you feel like you do not need therapy anymore because you are doing well, you can say something like: 

I believe I have made much progress and I believe I do not need anymore help considering that much of my issues have been resolved. Can we discuss termination?”

If you want to try out another therapist, you can say something like:

“I want to take a break from working with you because I think I want to try out another approach- I am interested in (for example:) Art therapy and I would like to give that a try with someone new, to get a fresh perspective.”

It is best that you talk to them directly, bringing up your concerns and how you feel about stopping therapy and moving forward without your therapist. It’s perfectly okay to leave it at that.

Any time you plan to take a break from therapy or to stop therapy with your therapist, it’s good to clarify whether you’re ending the relationship to stop altogether, if this is truly a break, or if you are on the fence about either option. 

Discussing this with your therapist and getting an opinion about your mental health status is important as your therapist can help you determine whether you should consider a short-term pause or a full stop.

What happens after you  tell your therapist you don’t need to see them anymore?

When you initiate a break up with your therapist and you tell them that you do not need them anymore, the response of the therapist can differ however it is very likely that it will follow a similar approach:

Termination process

When you broach the topic of termination, your therapist will walk you through the process and take the following steps:

  • Your therapist should inform you of the approaching ending of the sessions with you. This should be done at least 2-3 sessions prior to the final session. 
  • Your therapist should also give you opportunities to talk about your relationship as well as what you would like to focus on during the remaining time. 
  • Your therapist could also help you wean you out by spacing the sessions so that you are given time to build your confidence to build up your ability to handle things without seeing them on a weekly basis.
  • They should also spend time reviewing the progress that you have made during your sessions. They will review with you what you learned, what you intend to do with what you have learned, and what you found helpful about your sessions.
  • They should allow you to talk about your feelings about termination and also work through these emotions with you as well as processing them which is very crucial for the termination process. 
  • They should also help you in the referral process when you are trying to find a new therapist to replace them if that is what you need. They should be able to refer you to someone you can work well with and discuss feelings about talking to someone new during the termination process. 

Coping plan.

Having your therapist leave you can be a distressing experience, and even if you claim to be at a good place, it is very likely that you will face challenges and hurdles along the way. 

Your therapist is aware of this and the fact that you might need to learn how to cope with this emotional experience and it is helpful to have a coping plan in such cases which is why they might walk you through and refine certain coping strategies.

There is no harm in creating a plan, infact it can help you feel more prepared and this can be a crucial part of what you discuss with your therapist during the last days of your sessions. 

Working with your therapist about the transition and termination, also includes finding a new therapist as well as clarifying coping skills and support systems to help you through the process. 

You might also have to discuss various coping strategies that you usually use and apply them to this particular situation this could be part of your therapeutic journey as well. 

Discussing the possibility of returning to therapy

Another important aspect of what you need to discuss in the next few sessions with them is the prospect of finding a new therapist to replace a new one. 

While you might be apprehensive about this idea, it is a possibility if your therapist leaves you in the middle of treatment or if you still want to see someone to help you cope with life circumstances even when you feel a lot better.

They should also help you in the referral process when you are trying to find a new therapist to replace them if that is what you need. They should be able to refer you to someone you can work well with and discuss feelings about talking to someone new during the termination process. 

If they do not do this, you can take the step yourself to bring this up in the session with them. Ask them if they could recommend you a therapist who can work with you considering that they know what kind of person you are as well as the orientation of the therapist they can recommend. 

This can be an easier route for you to take as well as lighten the load of having to find someone on your own after the termination. 

Am I really ready to stop therapy?

The therapeutic process is a journey that is unique for all individuals and often it is a long process.

If you have been in therapy for a while you might get comfortable and have difficulty looking at your own progress objectively. 

In such a case, taking a break from therapy can be beneficial, especially if you have been able to adjust and adapt well to your life. 

Here are a few things you should consider if you are wondering when would be a good time to take a break from therapy:

  • If you’re find that you are having a hard time coming up with things to talk about in your therapy sessions, and that there is nothing crucial to discuss, it could be a sign that you need a break., 
  • If you feel like your life is going well overall and you are able to adapt to challenges could be a sign that you’re ready for a pause in therapy. 
  • If you have found that you are doing well, have achieved your goals, and are able to handle your life and yourself, it could be a sign that you are ready to take a break from therapy.

In these cases, you can talk to your therapist about scaling back your appointments to even once a month or once every six months which can give you ample time to work through life with the skills that you have learned in therapy. 

Taking a full break from therapy can be beneficial as well and it is often when you are out of therapy that you are able to gain perspective in your own healing process as well as allow you to check in with whether your goals have been met or not. 

It also gives you the time to apply what you have learned and try out living in the world as an independent individual.

If you are ready to take a break, let your therapist know as soon as you can so you can agree how to terminate and transition out of therapy while creating strategies to cope and maintain your mental health. 

What should you do when terminating from therapy?

Here are a few things you need to do when you are taking a break from therapy:

Clear all dues and insurance claims

If you have dues with your therapist, you should clear everything before your sessions end with them for the break. 

If you are paying via insurance, you have to make sure that you have an agreed plan if there are issues that arise with insurance payment since Insurance filing isn’t always done immediately after your appointment.

Get your records

If you want your records for further treatment that you might avail later on in the case that you seek treatment elsewhere, you should discuss the possibility of getting your records from your therapist.

This has to be done in advance because therapists usually don’t hand over notes the same way a doctor might since they have to follow certain guidelines about record keeping so for this you might have to schedule a separate appointment to do so.

However, it has to be mentioned that transferring records directly from your therapist to another professional is easier and you only have to sign a release form; so you should discuss this option with your therapist.

Make arrangements for referral 

If you are taking a break from your therapist to try out other therapists and other approaches, you have to make arrangements as soon as possible since the wait times for mental health services can stretch to weeks or months.

Follow up on the referral as soon as possible and try not to wait until you have an emergency.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed how to tell your therapist you want to take a break. 

We have also discussed some of the things you should do when taking a break from therapy and when is the time you should consider taking a break from therapy. 

References

How To Take A Break From Therapy And Still Be OK.  HuffPost. Retrieved on 15th May 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/pausing-therapy-tips_l_5c9e3b12e4b00ba6327bfb99

When Is It Time to Take a Break From Therapy? SonderMind. Retrieved on 15th May 2022. https://www.sondermind.com/resources/when-is-it-time-to-take-a-break-from-therapy#:~:text=A%20full%20 pause%20from%20therapy,you%20set%20out%20to%20make.

Pausing Therapy: Reasons Why and What You Should Consider. Talk space. Retrieved on 15th May 2022.https://www.talkspace.com/blog/pause-stop-therapy-guide/

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