Therapy can be a valuable venue to help someone grow in self-awareness, move through difficult life circumstances, and make healthy self-affirming choices. While building a strong professional relationship with your therapist is key to a collaborative process, here are important reminders as to why therapy needs to be time-limited. Notable exceptions may include those who have chronic conditions, exhibit severe symptomatology, and/or are in recovery.
If a therapist does not bring up the topic of ending therapy, also known as termination, during the initial consultation or intake session, you can absolutely ask him/her/them about your treatment plan and projected length of therapy. This treatment plan should be revised periodically to see if your therapy collaboration is on-track and to make any necessary adjustments.
Three risks of staying in therapy longer than you need to:
- Growing dependent upon your therapist.
- Reduced self-confidence to make decisions and work through things on your own.
- If a therapist does not hold proper boundaries, this professional relationship can grow into a co-dependent one, which does not benefit client nor therapist.
It’s important you advocate for your health needs, which may include a) ending services if you feel your therapist is not the right fit for you, and b) when you are ready to end services. This may feel uncomfortable for some, but ultimately, if you got out of therapy what you came in for (yay!), this is likely a good sign that it’s time to move toward wrapping up.
It is very common for people to take pauses from therapy and return at various points in their lives. Unless there is good reason for ongoing, indefinite therapy, there are subtle risks that could end up hurting, instead of helping you in the long-run.