It’s Graduation Time

[Part 2 in a series of 3]

You mean people really graduate from therapy? I thought people just stayed in therapy forever.

Believe it or not, I hear this often. Yes, you are supposed to start and end therapy once your goals have been achieved. Sadly, some people become dependent on their therapist and are afraid that if they stop, they will return to the hurting place they started. This is not totally your fault, either. Therapists are also guilty of holding onto clients long past the time she/he should have moved on and begun living life in the real world with the healing tools taught in therapy.

Knowing when to stop therapy is a personal decision that depends on various factors. Here are some considerations that can help you determine if it’s the right time to end therapy:

  1. Treatment goals achieved: Evaluate whether you have achieved the goals you initially set for therapy. If you have made progress, gained insight, and developed effective coping strategies, it might indicate that you have reached a point where therapy is no longer necessary.
  2. Symptom improvement: If the symptoms or difficulties that led you to seek therapy have significantly decreased or no longer interfere with your daily functioning, it might be a sign that you are ready to conclude therapy. However, it’s essential to ensure that the improvements are stable and sustained over time.
  3. Feeling ready and empowered: You may sense a growing sense of self-confidence, increased self-awareness, and a better understanding of yourself and your emotions. If you feel equipped to handle challenges independently and have developed a strong support system, it might indicate that you have acquired the tools to navigate life without therapy.
  4. Open communication with your therapist: It’s crucial to have open and honest discussions with your therapist about your progress, concerns, and readiness to end therapy. They can provide valuable insights, offer their professional opinion, and guide you in making an informed decision.
  5. Trust in yourself: Trust your intuition and judgment. Reflect on how you feel about ending therapy. If you genuinely believe that you have gained what you need from therapy and have a sense of closure, it may be an indication that it’s time to move on.

It’s important to note that therapy can be beneficial for different periods and seasons in our life, ranging from short-term to long-term or short interruptions and disruptions in life to deeper traumatic experiences. Some individuals may benefit from periodic “check-ins” and “booster” sessions or return to therapy in the future for specific concerns. Remember, the decision to stop therapy should be made collaboratively with your therapist based on your unique circumstances and needs.

You’ve done the work. Now celebrate and honor your growth.

In Your Wellness,

Dr. Clack