A Guide to Psychology and its Practice -- welcome to 
                     the «Questions and Answers» page. Click on the image to go to a general Introduction 
                     with a complete Subject Index to this entire website.

and Answers


Website Menus

Page Contents: When a psychotherapist forces the end of psychotherapy.                    


I have been in therapy for eight years. I saw my first therapist for four years until she left the practice; we worked towards an ending over a period of months, and I started to see a therapist from the same practice shortly afterwards. I have been seeing my current therapist for four years. Two weeks ago I had difficulty talking to my therapist as we had been talking about some sexual abuse I suffered as a child, and I found it difficult to talk about it. I said “this can’t go on for ever can it” and my therapist said no it can’t. From there my therapist started talking about endings and said maybe I needed to set an ending to the therapy. I said I did not want to do this and she persisted and suggested a time frame of six months. I have talked to her about it and said whilst I realise that the therapy cannot continue inevitably I do not feel ready to set a date. She said that as we have started the process of ending the therapy I have to set a date for ending or she will do it. When I asked why she said that it is an issue of boundaries and that we have started the ending process and there is no going back. My questions is why is this an issue of boundaries, my therapist can not explain this to me. I feel that the therapist wants to leave and that she is forcing me to end the therapy so that the same thing doesn’t happen as with the first therapist. I feel I can not untangle what is coming from me and what is coming from my therapist. She also implied that setting an end date was in my best interests and I don’t agree. I don’t know the best way to deal with this.

The key issue here can be found in your statement that “I feel that the therapist wants to leave and that she is forcing me to end the therapy so that the same thing doesn’t happen as with the first therapist.”

The truth is, your treatment with your first psychotherapist ended when she left the practice. So does your current psychotherapist now have plans to leave the practice herself? Well, we don’t know.

But we do know how you feel. Look to the emotional content of your statement. You feel that “she is forcing me to end the therapy.” Actually, this is a statement of belief, not feeling. To get to the feelings associated with this belief, we can say that you must feel pressured, confused, hurt, and abandoned. Furthermore, if you think about this a bit, that’s exactly how a child feels when she is sexually abused.

So, given these feelings, are they coming from your unconscious past, or from your psychotherapist’s veiled motives for ending your treatment? Well, the only way to untangle this mess is to ask her directly if she has plans to leave her practice.

If she says that she is, in fact, planning to leave, then you know that your feelings are coming from her—that is, that you have intuitively perceived what she has failed to say openly.

If she denies that she has plans to leave, then that leaves you with a mess of its own.

We have to wonder why she is forcing an end to the treatment. Is it a matter of your insurance running out? Is she afraid to deal with sexual abuse issues? Is she frustrated that after spending eight years in treatment you still find it difficult to speak openly about the abuse?

Whatever her motive, she owes you an honest explanation. If she fails to give that explanation, then she is re-creating within the treatment the same sort of abuse that happened to you as a child, leaving you with the same feelings now—and the same lack of boundaries and the same lack of respect for your needs—that you experienced as an abused child. In that case, it would be best for you to get away now, while you have the chance, and to find someone who can treat you according to your best interests.


 Back to the list of questions


No advertising—no sponsor—just the simple truth . . .

If this website has helped you, then
please help support this website

FOR THE SAKE OF TRUTH this website about the practice of Clinical Psychology does not accept any advertising.

Therefore, if my work has been informative and helpful to you, please send a donation in appreciation, even if it’s only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available to everyone without advertising.

Gratitude is joy to the heart!


Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
San Francisco
Contact Me




A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



Copyright © 1997-2017 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
San Francisco


All material on this website is copyrighted. You may copy or print selections for your private, personal use only.
Any other reproduction or distribution without my permission is prohibited.



No advertising and no sponsor—just the simple truth.