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Knowing When It’s Time to End Therapy

Part of my anxiety when I was job searching had to do with therapy. How will I pull it off when I have to work a 9 to 5 office job? Which then led me to the thought: Is it time to take a break? How would I know when that time comes? Other people around me are clearly crazy and they aren’t spending their lunch hour in therapy.

Alas, I decided my graduation day is off in the far distance because I still always leave my therapist’s office feeling about 10 pounds lighter and equipped with an arsenal of power tools with which to treat my negative intrusive thoughts.

In my life, and maybe in yours, it always tempting to end therapy exactly when you need as part of your recovery plan, especially during a huge transition, like going to work for someone after 15 years of calling your own shots.

6 Comments to
Knowing When It’s Time to End Therapy

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  1. Hmmm, I decided to come to this site on a Holiday Sunday night, after a really fulfilling day bopping around town here in Maine on my last weekend of a Locums assignment, including some much needed and appreciated beach time, and I read this.

    Well, I have two responses, in order of importance and I hope appreciated by readers. The first, as I read the piece before it got to the Hopkins part, was this:

    You and the therapist do not know the end of therapy until you both come to the conclusion, unless, one or the other is stuck for whatever reasons. And, in the end, therapy is NEVER over, it just takes a hiatus. Maybe for the rest of the life of the patient, but, you don’t know until you get there!

    Now, my opinion about Hopkins. And pay attention to that comment, “my opinion”. This is a program that did not really embrace, if it ever has as of now, the role of therapy, and that is something that needs to be said by a psychiatrist who has practiced in Baltimore Maryland, trained at U of MD, but, attentive to what has come out of Hopkins. They and other less than illustriave (the right word?) institutions, were primary players to fostering the biochemical model in the late 80’s/early to mid 90’s at least, and they should pay for that lack of insight, again, in my opinion!

    Maybe they have had a change of heart, and now appreciate the role of therapy in the treatment of mental health. I know one of their more outspoken and prominent leaders says and seems to show by example this is what they preach now.

    But, remember what I always preach and practice here and in my office: Deeds, not words, are what define us and what exemplifies us! If Hopkins writes this stuff, they better be doing it!!!

  2. Why would a therapist ever tell you to leave? You are their paycheck. I think therapy is another word for church, just with less people. It’s all things you can do on your own.

  3. This article is particularly timely as I am at this juncture in therapy right now. I decided to stop therapy a few weeks ago and plan to take a break for at least 6 months. Unfortunately I can’t just “do this on my own.” I have several chronic mental health conditions that I tried for many year to treat on my own. The bottom line is that I need a professional to teach me skills to handle my problems and to provide support.

    But anyway, there comes to a point where you’ve learned all the skills and therapy seems to be going no where.

  4. I need my psychologist. I used to see her every week. The first time she suggested that we drop to every other week I became very anxious so we stayed at once a week. Some time later I agreed to drop to every other week although she holds my appointment time open for me until we decide if I need to come the following week. When will therapy end? I don’t know, I need it now and may continue to need the support for a long time.

  5. Geez, Billy Williams, you’re awfully cynical. As a patient of psycho-dynamic therapy, I’m offended, and I’m offended on behalf of my wonderful therapist who has changed my life dramatically for the better. And no, it’s not something I could’ve done on my own…if it was, I would’ve been a mentally and emotionally healthy person two decades ago. My therapist is not in it for the money; yes, he needs a paycheck like the rest of us, but he knows his stuff and has the compassion to WANT to help people heal and thrive, not just a desire to take our money.

    What you said is extremely offensive, perhaps you should make an appointment with a caring therapist to talk about it…

  6. @ Billy Williams
    RE: “It’s all things you can do on your own.”

    From a pragmatic standpoint I strongly disagree. I spent nine years attempting to overcome my depression on my own with methods that ranged from church to buddist meditation and from positive thinking to macrobiotics. By the end of those nine years, I had grown deeply disappointed in my inability to fix what was wrong with me. However, going to therapy addressed a glaring obstacle, my unremitting aversion to asking for help.



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