Therapy has done me good. Off and on ever since I was 14, I’ve seen a couple therapists for a couple of years at a time each. They’ve helped me through family craziness, adjusting to college, adjusting to life after college, a boss possessed by Satan, and bouts of depression and anxiety.
Therapy isn’t about “solving” problems; it’s about learning ways to cope with them. It’s a credit to my most recent therapist that the few problems in my life feel manageable. In extraordinary circumstances I’ll feel anxious or depressed, but I’m proud to say that I’ve been living my life better than ever. So much so, in fact, that I’m not sure that I’m getting much out of therapy anymore. It feels less like an essential part of mental healthcare and more like a relationship I’ve been maintaining (and let’s be honest, paying for) out of guilt and habit.
So I decided to cut the cord. And my therapist … well, she didn’t take it so well. It felt like a breakup. Here are the five stages you can expect your therapist to go through when you’ve quit their services:
1. DENIAL. You tell your therapist you ending your sessions. Your therapist wants to talk about how you might end your sessions if you decide to go. “No, no,” you assure your therapist. You’ve already decided. “Maybe we should talk about this next week?” your therapist suggest.
2. ANGER. She tells you you have a lot more work to do. This is a premature interruption of the therapy process! she insists. It is a completely irresponsible decision. The way she is describing your mental state, it’s a wonder you are not strangling kittens in broad daylight right this very minute.
3. BARGAINING. Perhaps it would help to adjust the cost of the sessions? Would that help?
4. DEPRESSION. Your therapist is very concerned that if you end your sessions, you’ll undo all the wonderful work you did together. Really, what was the meaning of it all, anyway?
5. ACCEPTANCE. Fine. Your last check is in the mail.
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