Ending Therapy: Processes and Outcomes
In the psychotherapy literature, ending therapy is referred to as termination and the final phase of therapy is the termination phase. The length of this phase is determined in large part by the length of the therapy, with the last 10% to 25% of therapy considered as the termination phase (Gelso & Woodhouse, 2002). The negotiation of termination can be problematic for patient and therapist alike. It can be tempting for therapists to avoid the ending by either continuing indefinitely or by delaying discussion of a forthcoming ending. Indeed, many trainees avoid negotiating the termination phase by not discussing it at all with the patient until the last session (Bostic, Shadid, & Blotcky, 1996). Patients too may avoid termination, for example, by dropping out prematurely or fleeing into health (Malan, 1979).