Two reasons why people end therapy before they should

Starting therapy can be difficult. For people who do choose to go to therapy and commit to working with a counselor every week, it can be helpful. However, there are people who choose to stop weekly sessions before expected. Here are two of the many reasons why some people choose to end therapy before they should. 

The original crisis is over

People generally seek therapy when they are in crisis. A crisis can be many things. It could be a traumatic event or a situation that is causing the person pain more days than not. Starting talk therapy can immediately begin to ease the painful feelings. Being able to speak honestly, express emotion and being heard, can be tremendously helpful. Then, the tools and insights of a counselor can change a person’s perspective about the situation and might change their approach towards it. 

Once this crisis is over, a person usually feels much better and might say they feel ‘back to normal’. It is easy and understandable that someone wants to end therapy at that point. However, counseling can be much more helpful at that time, after the crisis. By continuing to stick with therapy sessions, a person might really be able to make long term changes and then grow. 

Others’ opinions impact our decisions

When starting therapy, many people are hearing things about the brain and behavior for the first time. Getting a different perspective on our own choices and digging into why we make those choices, can really be eye opening. Most people have the tendency to want to share what they are learning in therapy with family or friends, for good reason. However, sometimes our family and friends do share their opinions and judgements. 

It is easy to be swayed and impacted by others’ opinions. Some clients do get negative feedback about their new perspective and changes they are making while in therapy. That resistance from people close to us can easily make anyone want to go back to the way things were. One way to do that is to end therapy. 

In closing

Starting therapy can be difficult, but I remind people to think about the reason why they were seeking therapy in the first place. If you focus on that reason, then committing to do the work will be easier because that reason is what matters. Sticking to therapy sessions and putting in the effort can be difficult at times, but can be tremendously beneficial to your life and to the people around you. 

Angela Zender, M.A., Anxiety Coach