How to Break Up with Your Therapist
Email Template Included
How to break up with your therapist:
- Go to a minimum of 10 therapy sessions before considering
- Tell your therapist in a session you are not connecting with their work
- Ask for a referral to a new therapist
- Don’t take this as a failure, but a learning experience
Here is How to Break Up with Your Therapist: Read Before “Goodbye.”
Like any other profession, you are paying for a service, and if that service doesn’t meet your end goal then you must move on to find someone else to hire. Hiring a therapist is just like hiring a personal trainer, voice coach or business coach. You won’t always find the perfect one right away, or you might outgrow them.
Lately, you’ve been questioning whether you’re making improvements in therapy. And, well, it’s normal to have some confusion or doubts or feel like progress is taking longer than it “should.”
The problem is that you can’t seem to shake the feeling like something is just not clicking. You want to blame it on yourself and how your brain works. You try to connect the dots between your mental health issues and why you think or feel certain things, but you keep going in circles only to end up right where you started.
Something is off with your therapy, and whether or not you can explain it, you have no choice but to acknowledge it.
Good for you for listening to your gut and showing up to read today’s blog on how to break up with your therapist. It’s worth it to explore the topic more so you hopefully find some answers and realize that this is not all in your head.
However, you know that if you could just dump all your thoughts and feelings out to your therapist, they could help you make sense of it. And yes, there’s no question that your therapist usually knows what’s best. But that doesn’t they are what’s best for you.
No therapist is a good fit for every client, and if they were, well, they would never have time to talk to you. And if you’re ready to acknowledge that it may be (or definitely) just isn’t meant to be, then let’s down to the nitty-gritty: let’s talk about how to break up with your therapist.
Breakups are easily one of the most uncomfortable things we do in life, but they’re pretty much an inescapable aspect of human existence. At the moment, we usually aren’t thinking about how the whole impending part of breakups is actually a good thing.
When we’re caught up in the emotions and feelings of it all, the last thing on our minds is how nice it is to live in a world where we don’t have to stay stuck with a situation or person – for any reason. Especially if that person is our therapist, and our mental health is still suffering.
That isn’t to say that we don’t see positives in whatever lies ahead when we break free from what’s not meant for us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t push past our fears or anxiety, rip off the bandaid, and move on.
But the point is that having the right mindset and perspective about breaking up with your therapist can make the process much less distressing. That’s why we want to talk to you about reasons and signs that it might be time to start seeing someone new. And, of course, give you some tips for how to break up with your therapist…because we would never leave you hanging like that.
Reasons why you might need to break up with your therapist
1. Your therapy needs aren’t being met
So maybe you don’t know exactly what your needs are, but when you have the right therapist, it should feel like you’re at least getting closer to knowing. For instance, maybe your therapist insists on continuing similar techniques that aren’t working when in reality, you wish they would at least throw out the idea of medication – or at least something other than meditation.
In other words, if you feel like you and your therapist are stuck, or all you know is that the one thing you’ve been doing isn’t working, then you need your therapist to throw out something new. They are the professional here, and should be more than capable of acknowledging this and willing to explore.
We said before how there is no single therapist for everyone, and the same goes for techniques. One telltale way of knowing that your therapist might not be “the one” is if they keep suggesting the one thing that isn’t helping.
2. Your therapist doesn't understand you
There’s a reason why we end up befriending some people over others. When you have things in common with someone, it’s not just that it gives you more to talk about; it eliminates the hassle of trying to explain where you are coming from before saying what’s on your mind.
For instance, there might be some cultural or personal history differences that are just too complex to define. It’s a classic “you had to be there” kind of scenario. And no fault of your therapist because, try as they may understand, they just weren’t or aren’t there. You certainly shouldn’t blame yourself either for needing someone who understands what it’s like to be in your shoes.
You not only deserve but are entitled to work with a therapist that you click with. Period.
3. Your therapist isn't the best fit for you in fundamental ways
Other reasons why you may be searching for reasons or tips on how to break up with your therapist could be practical or logistical. For example, maybe your therapist has moved office locations or switched their hours to no longer be convenient for you or possible to see them as much as you need.
It could also be time to move on if your therapist doesn’t have any experience working with your particular condition. Or perhaps there is a specific type of therapy you want to try. Say you’ve been reading up on cognitive-behavioral therapy because it sounds like it would be helpful with your obsessive-compulsive disorder or your crippling depression. It’s okay to look elsewhere for any of these reasons! You won’t know what’s best for you until you try.
4. You aren’t growing or feeling better overall
How much you grow in therapy depends on several factors, like how often you go and how engaged you are – not to mention the severity of the issues you are working through. But, generally speaking, you should begin to notice some positive shifts in how you feel or think fairly early on.
The point is that your therapist might take certain approaches to help you, but just because they have worked for others in the past does not mean they will work for you. For instance, sometimes people feel better by simply talking things out, whereas others need a more actionable approach with practical advice.
So how can you determine this? Think about how you feel when you leave your therapist’s office. Do you feel motivated? Do you feel relieved? Hopefully both, but if you often wish you felt more like one or the other, it might be time to move on.
5. Your therapy work is done
Finally, you might consider leaving your therapist because you are ready to leave therapy altogether. In this case, you and your therapist have done some great work together, and you are ready to continue applying what you’ve learned on your own!
Express your gratitude for your therapist, pat yourself on the back, and know that you can always return to therapy at any time.
Reasons to reconsider a breakup with your therapist
1. Your therapist wants to work with you
Well, of course, your therapist wants to work with you, but the question is whether they are willing to hear you out if you feel like something is off. Unless you are certain that it’s time for a breakup, for any reasons above, or you feel like you can’t trust them – then this is the best place to start.
Before ending things, express what you’re feeling and thinking about the therapy itself. By now, you’ve likely opened up about other uncomfortable things, and you can do this too. You might not have all the answers right now, and that’s okay. But you might discover everything you need to know based on how they respond, and that’s why talking it out first is so important.
Are they willing to take the time and effort to figure out what isn’t working? Are they up for talking about it and exploring other options with you? If they want what is best for you, they might even be willing to say the words you struggle to say yourself: I think it’s time for us to see other people.
Believe it or not, therapists break up with their patients, too. Although in most cases, it’s because they think you’re ready to leave – which means they’ve done their job. In either case, the ultimate goal of a therapist is not to keep you around forever. So do you get the feeling that they are honoring what’s best for you?
2. Therapy ‘just isn’t working for you’: but you’ve only gone twice...
Several signs can help you determine if therapy is working for you. Here are some to look for:
- You’re recognizing patterns in your life
- You’ve started setting boundaries
- You’re kinder to yourself
- You’re spending more time reflecting
- You’re sleeping better
- You’re responding rather than reacting
- You’re asking for help when you need it
If you notice even one of these signs, it’s likely not time to call it quits yet. On the other hand, if you haven’t noticed any yet, but you’ve only been to therapy a handful of times, that’s probably why.
We get how frustrating it is to feel like you’ve made a big leap in life only to wind up feeling the same. Give it some time, like you have done with so many other areas of your life.
How long did it take to finally feel comfortable in your fitness journey?
How long did it take you to learn how to drive?
How many attempts did it take to learn that new skill at work that gave you that significant raise?
Your well being isn’t a race – it isn’t even a marathon. Instead, it’s one day at a time, and the things you can learn from your therapist can help you make the most out of each of them.
Should I break up with my therapist?
If you’re still struggling to decide whether it’s time to break up, have you asked yourself if you are holding back from your therapist in any way? Is there something you wish to share that could give your therapist more context to help them better help you?
Your therapist is there to steer your conversations as needed, but they can’t read your mind. So it would benefit you to explore all the areas of your life that could use some attention or improvement. Before you give up on your therapist, take the next few sessions to bring up something they don’t fully know about you yet.
These articles will help you.
How do I tell my therapist I don't want to see them anymore?
If you’ve officially decided that you are ready to know how to break up with your therapist, that’s more than okay. Take a deep breath and remember that it’s for the best. And because we also want what’s best for you and you’ve already got enough on your mind, we’ve drafted up a way for you to say goodbye.
Feel free to use this statement exactly or alter it as you see fit, filling in the blanks as they fit your situation. You can discuss this in person or email it to them – whatever you feel more comfortable with. And if you do it in person, don’t wait until the end of the session to bring it up.
Above all, just don’t ghost them, and be honest, specific, and clear about when you final session was or will be.
How to break up with your therapist email template
Copy this template below and insert it into the email to your therapist.
We have been working together for ____ now, and I greatly appreciate your time, efforts, and how you’ve supported me on this journey to getting better.
Thanks to you, I have new goals/greatly improved my self-reflecting skills, and I’ve decided that I’d like to keep the forward momentum going. I am curious to see if another therapist/type of therapy can help me progress even further.
This experience has been a huge step for me, but I need to try a new approach/find someone with a similar history that I click with better/take more sessions that your busy schedule doesn’t seem to allow for.
Perhaps you know of and can refer me to someone who can help.
Thank you so much again for everything.
How to break up with your therapist final thoughts
Now is the time to honor your needs and get what you need from your relationship with your therapist.
Don’t suppress the voice in your head that’s telling you something else is worth trying. Don’t avoid what is best for your long-term mental health for the sake of your therapist’s temporary feelings. They’re big kids, after all. If anyone knows how to handle emotions and feelings well, it’s safe to say that they do.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be a tough conversation, but in the end, you’re helping them by giving them feedback that only you can give. And there aren’t many spaces that are more positive, open, and free of judgments that you can practice something like this.
So use this template to help express your appreciation, ask for what you need, give them some honest feedback, and walk away with inner-knowing and peace that you did what’s best for you and that that’s all your therapist wants for you too.