How To Know When It's Time To Leave Your Therapist And How To Make The Breakup Seamless

After a while, your therapist can feel like one of the most important figures in your life. Depending on how often you see them and the dynamic of your sessions together, the thought of leaving your therapist can feel extremely daunting. While every person's situation is different, the purpose of therapy is generally to give you the tools to function better in the wider world, not to make you reliant on your therapist. You might find that it's time to stop therapy altogether when you've reached the goals you set at the start of your therapy journey, you begin to feel bored during your sessions, and you feel satisfied with how the therapy has impacted your life (via Open Counseling).


However, sometimes you'll reach a point where you're not ready to leave therapy altogether, but you are ready to leave your therapist. Regardless of where you stand with your therapist, it's never easy to break up with them. The first step is recognizing when it really is time to move on to someone else, and then you can go ahead and make the transition. There's no right or wrong way to end your sessions with your therapist, but there are a few tips to make things a little easier on yourself.

When to leave your therapist

Ultimately, you attend therapy for your own benefit, not for that of your therapist. As soon as your needs are not being met, it's time to think about going elsewhere. According to Psychology Today, it might be time to leave your therapist when their approach and style aren't a good fit for you and your needs. This doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad therapist; they just aren't the right person to help you. Another sign that it's time to leave is when your therapist doesn't understand your cultural or gender identity (via Psych Central). A significant misunderstanding like this can stop your therapist from providing adequate help and support.


Of course, sometimes it's a little easier to identify when it's time to leave your therapist. If they are incompetent or inept at the job, you should move on (via Choosing Therapy). Signs of this include your therapist being dismissive or judgmental of you. If they fail to respect your boundaries, break confidentiality, or otherwise prove themselves to be unethical, it's time to leave. But you don't need these dramatic reasons to find a new therapist. If you feel like you're just not reaching your goals or connecting with your therapist, you never need an excuse to find someone else. Exactly how you leave your therapist is up to you, but there are a few ways to make the transition seamless.

How to leave your therapist

Your relationship with your therapist is professional. Their feelings should never come in the way of what you need as their patient. Healthline points out that you can explain as much or as little as you like to your therapist about why you're leaving. If you don't feel comfortable going in depth about your decision, don't. However, it can help to open up about your decision and even provide feedback to your therapist, both good and bad. Licensed marriage and family therapist Pilar Dellano advises bringing it up with your therapist as soon as you start feeling like you want to leave, and approaching the topic in the same way you would talk about anything else in therapy: honestly and openly (via Psyched). Keep in mind that this isn't the same as asking your therapist's permission to end the relationship. You never need their permission to leave.


Every situation is different, and if you don't feel able to tell your therapist that you're leaving, you don't have to. Remember, you don't owe anyone an explanation. In this case, BetterHelp recommends simply canceling your appointments. This can be done by calling or emailing the office. If your therapist works for themselves, you can explain over the phone that you're not interested in any more sessions. They will likely ask you why, but you can simply say you don't feel able to discuss it. Above all, follow your gut and go with what makes you comfortable. Although it may be daunting to leave, it's always worth it to find another therapist who can effectively help and support you.