So you have decided it is time to fire your therapist. You need to move on and find someone else to help you. Let’s be clear about something, you owe your therapist nothing. You do not owe them an email, call, or anything. If you are nervous they will react in a negative way, it is okay to not reach out and just leave.
Quick Reminder: YOU OWE NOTHING TO YOUR THERAPIST. YOU DO NOT OWE THEM A REASON AS TO WHY YOU ARE LEAVING
Something I have heard over and over again is the fear of breaking up with your therapist. The truth is, it can be hard to break up with them.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to leave your current therapist. People choose to leave their therapist for various reasons, there is no shame in moving forward. As a therapist I promise I would rather have you leave and go find the therapist you need than stay with me and not get what you need! That being said, I think it is very important to talk with your therapist about your needs if they are not getting met. (I have a post coming on this in the next few weeks!) Firing your therapist does not have to be a big and horrible ordeal. Your therapist should not have any negative feelings towards you when you choose to leave. My favorite reminder when a client fires me is “I am not the therapist for everyone!” and that is the truth. I am not the therapist for everyone and that is okay.
One EXTREMELY important note I want to add here. If your therapist is being verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually abusive or manipulative to you, you should stop seeing them immediately and report them to the place they work and their state licensing board. You can find a licensing board by simply Googling the type of therapist they are and licensing board.
There are a few different ways to fire your therapist:
As a therapist this is frustrating. As a client, I understand it. However, if you are ghosting your therapist, you are doing yourself a disservice. Instead of choosing to just leave, sending your therapist a simple email would be helpful. Think about a book, would you like it if a book just ended with no closure? No. Ghosting is not ideal. Is is the easiest way out? Yes. Is it the most beneficial for you? No. Ghosting does not allow your therapist to help you find another therapist or give you a referral to new therapists to suit your needs.
Discussing During Session
While probably the most helpful, this is the one I have seen/experienced the least. If you feel like things are not working with your therapist, you say something during the session. Maybe you give them some time to adjust or you can ask for a referral for a different therapist. This can be difficult because many people do not like confrontation. Having a dialogue about why you are leaving can sound something like this:
Client: “I have realized that I need a therapist with a bit more experience in…(insert what you are seeking here)
Therapist: Thank you for letting me know. Can I send you an email this week of some therapists who specialize in that?
Sending an email
In my opinion, this is the easiest way to go. It can allow you to be succinct and honest. This method allows you to give as little or as much information as you want. I would encourage you to let your therapist know what the issue is and why you are leaving.
Just like a therapist has a template to send if you stop showing up to appointments, you should also have a template to send to a therapist you want to fire.
For my free template subscribe below!