How Does Therapy Normally End?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been with my therapist for 10 years. We get along great, and I really like him. I thought we had a good working relationship.We were on a first name basis. The last time I saw him was in October, when my husband and I went together, at my husband’s request. (We had had a fight.)

We began to experience an even tighter money crunch than we are used to, so I could not afford to see him for several months after that. Finally, the receptionist at the clinic called me to ask if she should close out my file. when I told her money was an issue, she said she would ask my therapist to call me.

Two weeks later,after hearing nothing, I called her again. She informed me she had asked him to call me, but would do so again. It is now two weeks later. I have not heard from or seen him in 6 months. What do I make of this, and how do I handle it?
thank you.

A: It’s very unusual for a therapist not to be responsive to a client in your situation, especially with a 10 year history. I do suggest you give him the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming her is rejecting your efforts to make contact. Sometimes we therapists do get over-busy and overwhelmed and sometimes our own personal issues get in the way of being at our best.

Still, generally, whatever else is going on, therapists take termination quite seriously. You’ve been relying on the receptionist to be your go-between. It’s possible she isn’t conveying your message as you would like her to. I suggest you write your therapist a letter explaining your situation and asking if you can have a session to summarize your treatment and to say goodbye. That way, you at least know you have been “heard.”

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jun 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). How Does Therapy Normally End?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/06/03/how-does-therapy-normally-end/

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