Deciding to Stop Therapy: A Practical How-To Guide

Beginning therapy takes courage but is key for your personal growth and well-being. However, what should you do when you decide to conclude your therapy? The decision to end therapy can be difficult and bring up all sorts of emotions, and requires careful consideration. It is a subject that can feel uncertain and elicit mixed emotions.

As a counsellor, I understand that therapy is a powerful tool, and deciding to end it is a significant and personal decision. It is essential to recognise that every therapeutic journey is unique. So, if you are considering ending therapy, what needs to be considered? How do you go about making this decision, and what are some steps you can take?

Understanding the decision

It's essential to understand why you want to finish up your counselling. Whatever your reason, it's valid and crucial to your unique journey.

This reason may vary from person to person. You may have achieved the goals set at the beginning of therapy; your life feels stable, and you no longer need the same support. Alternatively, financial considerations or time constraints might be at play. It could also be that you feel the therapeutic approach or style of the current therapist doesn't match your preferences or needs. All of these are valid and unique to you. 


Effective communication is critical to building a solid therapeutic relationship with your therapist. It might feel daunting, but it's so important to be open with your therapist about how you're feeling and your reasons for wanting to end your therapy sessions. Doing so can help your therapist better understand your needs and work together towards achieving your goals.

Exploring alternatives

You should explore alternatives before making a final decision. This might mean spacing sessions further apart to allow more time for self-reflection or increasing the frequency of your sessions temporarily to briefly receive additional support during challenging times.

Sometimes, a change in therapeutic approach can offer a fresh perspective. There are many counselling modalities, such as person-centred, solution-focused, CBT, etc. Exploring alternatives can help you find an approach that fits your needs as they change. 

You can discuss these alternatives with your therapist and work collaboratively to find the best approach for your situation.

Ending therapy doesn't equate to failure; it's a natural step towards personal growth. 

What can you do to set post-therapy expectations?

Closure and reflection

Think about your therapy progress, specific milestones you hit, insights gained, and personal growth. Acknowledging and celebrating these accomplishments can create a sense of closure and achievement. Discuss your reflections and feelings about ending therapy with your therapist. Doing so can enrich the closure process and help you and your therapist gain a shared understanding.


As a therapist, I find it helpful to receive feedback from my clients regarding their experience with the therapeutic process. It allows me to understand what worked well and what they've learned. Constructive feedback can be valuable for both parties and is an invaluable tool for improving the therapeutic process.

Future steps

If you've decided that you do want to continue therapy but want to switch to a new therapist, it's helpful to think about what you found useful and what was less valuable during your past counselling sessions. This can help you identify what to look for in your new therapist. 


It's essential to take good care of yourself during and after your decision to end therapy. Ensure you maintain the positive habits and coping mechanisms you've developed during your sessions. 

Follow-up support

Remember that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether you stay with the same counsellor or explore new avenues, choosing a support system that understands and respects your evolving needs is essential. 

As you consider ending your current therapeutic journey, keep in mind that your decision to end counselling is a significant personal accomplishment. It signifies progress and self-reflection and is something to be proud of. If you decide to resume your journey or seek support elsewhere in the future, know that the door is always open. 

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