Q: How do I (or my therapist) know when I’m “done” with therapy? Can I ever be “done?” And, how does therapy “end,” whether it’s because we’re “done” or because I’m moving and can’t meet with this therapist any longer? Do I just not go back any more? Or is there some kind of ritual?
A: Excellent questions. Your therapist might disagree with me about these things, but, since you asked me, here are my own answers for each of your questions:
“How do I (or my therapist) know when I’m done? – I think you are done when you find that the time, energy, and money you spend on going to see the therapist just don’t seem worth expending any more.
“Can I ever be done.” – You can’t ever be done with changes and improvements, but you can stop wanting this therapist (or any therapist) to help you accelerate your changes and improvements.
“How does therapy end… is there some kind of ritual.” – Each therapist has their own way of ending therapy, usually based on their training. I want to be told one week and then to have one more appointment during which we evaluate the client’s progress in a quite detailed way.
“Do I just not go back any more?” – That happens, but from a therapist’s point of view it sucks! When we work hard for someone we care about, to have them just not show up feels like a slap in the face. I always assume they are angry at something I said during the last meeting. And I also assume they don’t want me to call them to ask why they stopped either. So I’m left just wondering – unless I can remember the thing I said last time that they showed me they really didn’t want me to be saying.