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break up with your therapist

How to Break Up with Your Therapist (Without Ghosting Them)

Category: Mental Health
3 minute read.

Calling it quits is never easy. Whether it’s an ill-fated romance where the sparks have died, or a subscription to that cheese-of-the-month club you thought was a gouda idea – breaking up can feel awkward. And believe it or not, the same goes for ending things with your therapist.  

Before you start drafting that “It’s not you, it’s me,” speech, understand that it’s completely okay to acknowledge that your current therapist just isn’t meant for you. After all, therapy is like dating – you’re looking for “The One” who truly gets you, your needs, and preferences.   

So, how do you break up with someone whose literal job is to talk about feelings? Here are some tips to make the process a bit less intimidating when it’s time to end therapy: 

how to break up with your therapist

When You’re Just Not That into Therapy (With Them) 

It’s not uncommon to feel like your therapist isn’t the wind beneath your emotional wings. Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re not making the progress you’d hoped for, or perhaps your personalities clash, making it hard to feel comfortable sharing your feelings. Whatever the reason, moving on is a sign of self-care – and your mental health deserves the best match.   

Rip Off the Band-Aid 

Procrastination isn’t your friend when it comes to letting go of something that isn’t serving you. Instead of dragging things out, it’s best to address the situation head-on – in a kind and mature way, of course. You don’t need to wait until your next session to give them an in-depth briefing on why it’s not working; a respectful email or phone call will do.   

Be Honest, Yet Kind 

Remember that therapists are professionals, and a good one will appreciate your honesty, and positive feedback. Give them the lowdown on why you feel it’s time to part ways. Try something like, “I’ve greatly appreciated our time together, but I feel like I need a different approach to continue my growth.” There is no pressure to go into detail but if you have constructive comments, it would be helpful to their practice as well.   

Show Appreciation 

End things on a positive note by expressing gratitude for their efforts. A simple “thank you for your support” acknowledges the work they’ve done while still making your exit smoother.   

Ask for a Referral 

If you’re up for it, ask for a referral. Talking to your therapist about next steps shows that you’re still committed to your mental health. Plus, it helps your soon-to-be ex-therapist understand that you’re not dismissing therapy altogether – you’re just looking for a different approach!    

After ‘The Talk’ 

It’s important to remember that the point of the breakup isn’t to lay blame or burn bridges – it’s to move forward in your mental health journey with a mental health professional who’s more your style.   

Jokes aside, finding the right therapist is an important element in your personal development and treatment plan. If a relationship with a counselor isn’t contributing positively to your growth, it’s wise and courageous to acknowledge that and take steps toward finding a better fit. Plus, think of all the new therapist jokes you’ll be able to share with your next one!  

Keep smiling, keep searching, and may your next therapist be the ~one~.