There are many reasons why therapy or a specific therapist may no longer be a good fit for you. You have the right to end therapy and your therapeutic relationship at any time, but it might be difficult to identify the reasons for ending the relationship or how to end the relationship. I hope that this article can help empower you in your decision to continue or end therapy. 

First, I want to go over some of the reasons that you may choose to end therapy or end your relationship with a therapist. This is not an exhaustive list, so there may be other reasons that influence your decisions, but I hope it helps illustrate some of the reasons.

Reasons to Break Up with Your Therapist:

  • Your therapist has done harm to you or the therapeutic relationship. This could be something like your therapist not taking feedback well, or something like making a sexual advance. Further below, I’ll discuss the process of filing a complaint against your provider if they have done something unprofessional, unethical, or illegal.
  • You don’t feel like your therapist is a good fit for you. Maybe they don’t have a lot of experience in the issue that you want to work on, or maybe a new issue has come up that your current therapist isn’t as familiar with. Perhaps you began therapy to talk about conflict in a relationship, but now you want to focus on the trauma that you’ve experienced and that is not your therapist’s area of expertise.
  • Maybe your therapist has brought up that they are not the right person to provide the support that you need. Your therapist may recommend that you see another therapist for expertise in an issue, utilizing a specific modality, or for a better fit.
  • Your financial circumstances have changed. The session fee is no longer in your budget.
  • You’ve outgrown therapy. When you started therapy, you had goals of things you wanted to change or process. Part of therapy is assessing your progress and goals. If you’ve reached your goals and don’t have others to work on, you might have outgrown therapy for right now.

Break Up with Your Therapist

When you decide to end therapy, you do not owe anything to your therapist. If your experience in therapy has been negative, or you feel unsafe with your therapist, you do not need to have a termination session with them. You can end therapy with a phone call or email. 

If you feel safe having a termination session with your therapist, it can be a good time to process the course of therapy with them- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You get to decide if you want to be done with therapy (like if you’ve outgrown therapy), or if you are interested in finding a therapist who is a better fit for you and your needs.

Some phrases that might help you start this conversation with your therapist:

  • My needs are no longer being met in this therapeutic relationship.
  • My goals for therapy have changed, and I’d like to work with a therapist who can focus on {this specific issue}
  • I was hurt in this situation between us, and I’m not happy with the way it was/was not resolved. I’m not comfortable continuing to work together.
  • My financial situation has changed, and I can no longer afford your fee. Do you have any sliding scale spots available, or could you provide me with referrals to therapists with lower fees?
  • I’ve reached my therapy goals, and I’d like to take a break from therapy or be done with therapy.

File a Complaint

If you chose to break up with your therapist because they have done something unprofessional, unethical, or illegal, you can choose to file a complaint to the Board of Psychology against your therapist or psychologist. In California, you can file a complaint through this website. If you aren’t in California, you can search for “file a board of psychology complaint in {insert your state}.” The Board of Psychology regulates the licenses and ethics of mental health clinicians. If you want to know more about the process of filing a complaint, Open Counseling wrote a helpful article.

You Deserve Support

We hope that this article is empowering to you as you think about what is best for you and your mental health. If you are looking for a therapist, consider our therapists! Learn more about them at this link.

Moriah Conant, MA
Moriah Conant, MA

I connect you with therapists at Here who can help you overcome the biggest obstacles in your life.