Ending Counseling is something that takes place at some point in a therapeutic relationship. Initially, if the client feels uncomfortable with the Counselor the client may feel that sessions should be ended and this is the client’s prerogative. Even if the client was referred to the therapist for aftercare or some other continuation of the treatment protocol, the client still has the ability to end or refuse treatment. If the individual is being mandated to comply with treatment, for example by the courts, then the treatment team may find some workable form of therapy for that individual. For the most part, the individual can end therapy of their own volition. If it is in a clinical setting and continued therapy is required, then they may be assigned a new therapist.
Provided that the client wants to continue with therapy and doesn’t want to stop, then the treatment will follow the treatment plan outlined and movement will continue towards achieving the goals set forth. There may be short term and long term goals, milestones, notable changes, etc. along the way. Typically, upon evaluation and the formation of a treatment plan, therapy begins and is focused on helping the client achieve their goals. In most cases the treatment term is less than ninety days, although, many clients come in weekly for many months or even over a year in the case of severe depression for example. Sometimes clients continue with therapy as directed by a treatment team, especially when suicidality has been a factor. In therapy the client may make good progress or not much progress at all, it all depends on the client.
Should the client make good progress in treatment and find themselves achieving their goals then movement toward ending therapy may be in order. At this point, often the therapist will suggest to the client that therapy has run its course and termination is in order. The client can always return for brief therapy should a need arise but the main focus in therapy, if at all possible, it to instill autonomy within the client. Once this is achieved, therapy may end in collaboration between the client and therapist. On the other hand, if therapy doesn’t progress and the client is resistant and over time sees no change; then this too could be a reason for ending therapy. In a case such as this the client would then be referred to another competent therapist in hopes that another professional may be able to provide a more therapeutic environment that might bring about change, where the previous therapy was unable to do so. Sometimes rapport between therapist and client hasn’t built to a trusting level for one reason or another, to where change might have been possible. Continuation of prolonged therapy where there is no rapport is of not much benefit. When this happens, another therapist may become necessary. There are many reasons to end therapy but the best and most desirable reason is when the client no longer needs it and is ready to lead their own life, making their own decisions.