A client’s story prompted this post. It has to do with staying in therapy.
She was 17 and, in her terms, a mess. She had been fighting with her mother endlessly. On her own, she got herself to therapy. The therapist helped her. She provided insight, reflection, another point of view, warmth, and a better female role model. Then, everything changed. She got some advice from her big sister. The big sister said to quit therapy and get a job. Her sister said things would get better, faster, that way.
She listened to her sister. Then things got worse. She started to do badly in school, she started to use drugs, and she acted out sexually. Finally, she realized that she wasn’t getting anywhere. She got herself back in therapy and started to get better. Her lesson: If you’re a mess, stay in therapy!!!!
I urge the same road in working with my clients. Too often they get an early breakthrough and some insight. Some of the pressure is relieved. So they feel they can quit. I urge them to reconsider. I suggest several sessions to sum up what they have learned and what issues still need resolution. If they still feel finished, I leave open the option of having them call me and also of returning to therapy. I don’t judge what they’re saying, but I do express my concerns,
So, if you’re thinking of ending therapy, particularly if you’re still experiencing problems, don’t just end it. Open it as a discussion with your therapist. Find out what s/he thinks and find out if you can return.