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Do Therapists Ever Try to Get a Patient to “Break Up” with Them?

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I’ve been attending therapy for several months now and just recently (last three times) my therapist has been coming out about 20 minutes late and often ending early. She never acknowledges it, but a 50-minute session was 20 minutes. Is this an attempt to communicate something? I do struggle with talk therapy; I began going because it’s something you’re supposed to do after a suicide attempt (6 months ago due to amalgamation of MDD, fertility/hormonal issues, eating disorder, job stress, and childhood trauma). I spend a fair amount of time staring at the carpet during appointments because I don’t know what to say. I have been in therapy before, and I did the same thing, so it’s not on her. I feel like I may not have the personality for this to be successful or I’ve made her uncomfortable, but she doesn’t want to push someone seen as vulnerable over the edge, so instead she just turns up late. Is this a thing?

Do Therapists Ever Try to Get a Patient to “Break Up” with Them?

Answered by on -

A.

This is not a “thing” that any therapist should do. Therapists receive training about how to terminate therapy. Something must be wrong.

You could ask her why your sessions are so short. Don’t assume it’s your fault. Her behavior is unprofessional and not the norm. Ask her why. Hesitant? Write her a note or leave her a message on her answering machine. Don’t blame yourself. If you have little to say, she should be asking you constant questions.

It also may be a sign that you need a new therapist. Not all clients and therapists are a match.

Understandably, you should continue counseling because of the reasons stated. I would urge you to keep trying but with someone else. Your willingness to try, even though it’s difficult, significantly increases your chances of success. The next step is finding a good therapist.

Call four or five therapists. Discuss the issues you would like help with and ask them how they would help you. Meet the ones you like in-person. The one you like the most will probably be your best choice. It’s worth the effort to find the right therapist. It can make all the difference. Thank you for your question.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Do Therapists Ever Try to Get a Patient to “Break Up” with Them?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Do Therapists Ever Try to Get a Patient to “Break Up” with Them?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/08/30/do-therapists-ever-try-to-get-a-patient-to-break-up-with-them/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Aug 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.