Deciding to stop therapy: A practical how-to guide

Starting therapy is a positive and brave step towards personal growth and well-being. But what happens when the time comes to end your therapy? The decision to end therapy is often challenging and emotional, and it requires some careful consideration. It's a topic that feels uncertain and full of mixed emotions.


As a counsellor, I recognise the power of therapy, and I recognise that the decision to end it is both personal and significant. When you're considering this step, it's worth acknowledging that every therapeutic journey is unique. So, what are some considerations that go into the decision to stop working with a therapist, and how do you go about it?

Understanding the decision

It's important to understand why you want to finish up your counselling. Whatever your reason, it's valid and a crucial part of 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 more 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 key 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 why you wish to end your therapy sessions. By doing so, you can help your therapist gain a better understanding of your needs and work together towards achieving your goals.

Exploring alternatives

You might want to 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 modalities of counselling; person-centred, solution-focused, CBT and many more. 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 important to take good care of yourself during and after your decision to end therapy. Make sure to 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 continue with the same counsellor or explore new avenues, remember that your developing needs are understood and respected by the support system you choose.

As you think about wrapping up your current therapeutic journey, remember that your choice to end counselling is a significant personal achievement, signifying progress and self-reflection. If you ever restart this journey or seek support elsewhere, please know the door is always open. 

If you would like to find out more about me, check out my profile for more information on how we might work together and to get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Written by Jennifer Warwick, MSc Psych, BACP Registered | Counsellor and Parenting Expert
Seaford, East Sussex, BN25

I am a BACP registered counsellor working online. I work with people who struggle to balance work, home and family life. People constantly rush, looking after others over themselves and are exhausted.

I specialise in supporting parents and carers as they navigate their child's tween and teenage years. Contact me for an introductory chat by phone

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