As is the case with any relationship gone south, sometimes you need to break up with your therapist. Maybe you feel ready to fly in the world on your own, or you’ve stopped connecting, or maybe she said something awful, like “You shouldn’t cry so much.” I don’t care how much she helped you unpack your mommy issues, she’s not going to be of any more assistance saying crap like that. So you know you need to dump your shrink, but how? It seems like it would be easier than breaking up with someone you’ve been sleeping with. But sometimes, because of the intimate nature of things you share with your therapist, it’s harder. You have a few options. Some shrink dumping approaches after the jump.
1. The Ghosting. I went to a shrink once who, when I told him I was bored with my life responded, “Don’t you think that only boring people get bored?” No, I didn’t think so. His stupid, open-ended question made me want to assault him with the stupid, modern art hanging on his stupid wall. Obviously “bored” was code for “depressed.” And obviously, he was missing a sensitivity chip. Needless to say, I never wanted to see him again. So I never went back. I ghosted the mofo. He deserved it. This is perfectly fine if you’ve only seen a shrink a few times and/ or if he/she says something inexcusable. Just stop calling that fool back and find someone who gets you.
2. The Lame Excuse. This is my preferred method of therapist breakup. Yes, I have trouble with confrontation. Most of my shrink dumpings have either happened due to external circumstances — moving, insurance issues, major change of schedule. This is the best, because you can be like, “This has been fun but I’m moving out of state.” But if you don’t have a convenient external circumstance handy to end the therapeutic relationship, you can make one up. This is an absolutely acceptable, albeit slightly cowardly, way to end a therapeutic relationship.
Be forewarned though; if you do use a lame excuse, be prepared for your shrink to ask questions. When are you coming back from really long your trip in China? What is your new insurance and why don’t they pay for therapy? You may get backed in a corner and end up having to just say it: “I’m not up for therapy right now.” You can leave off the last part of that sentence. WITH YOU. If your shrink still isn’t catching your drift, you may have to placate with an “I’ll call you” and then … ghost. It’s the coward’s way.
3. The Long Goodbye. This is the worst way to end a relationship with your shrink and it can drag on for weeks, months or even years, causing you so much unnecessary anxiety. You have two options if you go the long goodbye route: keep seeing the therapist until something external breaks you up (hallelujah!) or keep seeing the therapist until you work up the cajones to have the honest talk. Really, you need to do something. Therapy is for your well-being. It should not be giving you an ulcer. You have enough problems already.
4. The Honest Talk. Really,this is the thing that you should do if you’re a healthy, mature human being. But you’re in therapy … so you’re working on it. It’s best to rip that bandaid off and don’t find yourself continuing to see someone when you have reservations about them. You need to tell them what your issue with them is. Like a brave adult. “That thing you said about me crying too much made me feel like you were shaming me for sharing my emotions.” Or “You’ve helped me so much with my mommy issues, but I don’t feel comfortable talking to you about sex and I need to talk about that.”
Give your therapist a chance to respond. You never know, this might be the key to you dealing with some of your crap. It or might help your therapist learn how to help you better. Your might end up staying. Or your shrink may blow it, proving what you already knew to be true: You need to end it right away and find someone you feel comfortable opening up to on an ever growing basis.