Why do people leave therapy?

Around 20-57 percent of people who go to a therapist prematurely stop going after the initial visit while another 37 to 45 percent of people continue to attend only two times. Leaving the therapy can happen without warning or indirectly through various signs, like sending the therapist an email, or text message, or simply not showing up to the next session. Some people might come back later or if they want to continue therapy resume work with a new therapist. There are several reasons why this happens, many people start to feel better after several sessions and might decide that it’s time to leave. Some can even have unrealistic expectations about the outcomes of therapy or how the treatment works and become disinterested once their expectations do not match with reality. Here are five more reasons in detail:

  1. People feel that therapy is not getting them anywhere – some people might go to therapy for several weeks and not feel like their condition is improving. Anxiety, depression, or anger is still there, and no major changes have taken place. In this case, it is crucial to talk with the therapist and if the course is not changed then it might be time for a new therapist. When going to therapy one must remember to do things that are asked as therapists are not magicians.
  2. People don’t click with their therapist – some people might think that their therapist does not understand them and that something is not right. In this case, it is better to change the therapist as there are lots of professionals to choose from. Without collaboration and mutual rapport, there is no sense in forcing a fit between a client and a therapist.
  3. Therapy can feel challenging – sometimes people might feel it is too hard to change their thinking and behavioural pattern once asked to do so. In this case, the client should ask the therapist for extra support like breaking up certain tasks into chunks. Furthermore, when asked to relive the traumatic or painful event once can the therapist approach this subject in a different manner if it is too much for them. If one feels bad there is no need to feel worse, but it is not time for giving up!
  4. Therapy being too expensive – for people therapy can be too expensive even with insurance and a limited number of visits that one can attend. In this case, it is important to get the maximum out of therapy sessions, like doing assignment tasks ahead of time, and asking therapists for homework and resources that one can use and work on outside the therapy.
  5. People start taking medications – some clients who are suffering from debilitating depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition might be suggested to take medications. Even though medications are good in helping people decrease their symptoms it is often the culprit for leaving the therapy prematurely as people feel relieved. Often after stopping medications the symptoms return in full force and clients often feel intense emotional distress.

Whatever the reason may be for leaving therapy, it is important to carefully consider the reasons why you feel it might be the right time to stop. Sometimes rather than stopping, it may be time to take a break, change therapists, or the type of therapy altogether. Remember, your decision should always be based on what’s best for your mental health; after all, that is what’s most important.

Sources retrieved from www.GoodTherapy.com and www.PsychSkills.com