No Closure After Abrupt End of Therapy

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have bipolar disorder and go to a community mental health center where it is required to see both a therapist and a psychiatrist instead of just going to get your meds. I think that’s awesome and it has helped me tremendously.

I had a great rapport with my therapist, he showed me these videos of games people play and helped me learn how to move on from the toxic relationship I was in, I learned how to accept bipolar and really understand it and believe me, I could go on and on! The point I’m making is that I felt like it was a good working relationship.

There were occasional scheduling issues where I would show up and there would be no appt which was frustrating but usually not a huge deal unless I was having a very bad week and counting on being able to talk to someone. Then there would not be an appt available for at least another week and it was a big let down.
One time, though, it was an 8 am appt and it required real finagling of my 2 children’s schedules and I had to drive my youngest to a babysitter a half hour away only to show up and have them say it was supposed to have been canceled the day before and that the therapist doesn’t even have hours until 9 am.
I was upset and the front desk person told me I could wait till he came in at 9 so I said ok because I figured she meant I would have a time then or something.
At 9:45, he came out and said do you have an appt for next week, I said yes and he said ok I will see you then and I was frustrated because she told me to wait and said “but why did I stay here all this time?” That was it.
The next week I showed up and there was no appt. I was told he would not see me and he had put in for a transfer because I was emotionally attached.
Honestly, I do feel devastated by this. As of now I have no therapist and I don’t know if I can trust another one.

A: I’m sorry you’re having so much difficulty! It sounds like this wasn’t handled properly by the facility nor the therapist, but it is hard to know their policy and why it was handled the way it was.

I’m sorry you’re feeling so bereft, and I would encourage you to ask the facility for recommendations for other therapists. They at least owe you that. I would also ask them for information about groups, as I do think individual therapy should at least be supplemented with group therapy — if not entirely replaced by it.

The reason I suggest this is because groups meet very regularly, usually at the same day and time, even if a few people don’t show up the group usually runs because there are enough members there, and facilities tend to pay more attention to the fact that the therapists isn’t showing up for 6 to 10 people then if he isn’t showing up for one.

I also think group helps you learn things about yourself from different perspectives, while giving you a chance to flourish in a stable on-going environment.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 May 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). No Closure After Abrupt End of Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/22/no-closure-after-abrupt-end-of-therapy/