How does counseling end?

How does a counselor decide when to end counseling sessions or to terminate working with a client?

Jill Barnett Kaufman
Jill Barnett Kaufman
Psychotherapist

There are several reasons for a counselor to decide to end counseling.  A major reason to end counseling is if the counselor feels that he or she does not have the skills or experience to work with the client.  This may happen during the intake process or after working with the client for some time.  If the clinician feels that the client is not benefitting from the therapy, it is ethical to suggest that the client terminate the therapy.  The process of termination must not injure the client and, if necessary, the clinician may need to refer the client to other treatment modalities.  Another reason to terminate working with a client is if the client needs a higher level of care.  If the client has a crisis or is at risk of hurting himself or someone else, he or she may need a higher level of care.  In this circumstance, the clinician may need to involve outside services such as a crisis unit.  A third reason to terminate with a client is if the clinician feels that he or she cannot remain professional with the client relationship.  For example, if the issues that the client is working on bring up something significant for the clinician and the clinician feels that he is unable to separate that from the professional relationship.  In this instance, the clinician should refer the client to another therapist.  Finally, if the client has reached her goals for therapy and no longer needs treatment, the clinician and client should terminate treatment.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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