When do you stop therapy?

I’ve been going for…about four months now.

And I feel fine. Just peachy. My therapist also has a way of saying things that make it sound like there isn’t anything wrong with me and I’m starting to believe it.

Then again, I went there for a reason and I wonder if I stopped, would I start behaving the way I did that made me require therapy?

I’m confused.

I’m not normal, I do lot of things that lots of normal people don’t really do, I think, but I’m not particularly unhappy. When I do get upset, it doesn’t last too long and the specific cause of the feeling doesn’t extend to every area of my life.
And I don’t hurt people or break things or hurt myself.

I would say…that’s pretty good. Huzzah!

I’m just scared to ask Dr. Therapist if she thinks that maybe I shouldn’t go anymore because I feel fine.

I don’t know…for those of you who have gone, what made you stop? How does it end?
Money’s not an issue because I had a sliding scale deal.
I could go for free forever if I wanted to.

I was in therapy for a bit over a year. When I started I was a total mess. (depression, panic attacks, self injury, ladida, ladida)
I went weekly (I think at the beginning twice a week - I was pretty suicidal…)
Therapy quickly helped me, if I had therapy on monday, tuesday would be peachy, wednesday pretty okay, thursday would suck and on friday I d have new scratchmarks on my arm. After my meds kicked in things were pleasantly easy. Some of the meds (given to me by a psychatrist, not my therapist) where far too hard for me and had no purpose really but to keep me quiet. I was too blotto to do myself much harm. Hurray! But not all my meds were like that, the anti-depressant really helped me and gave me a break from being a total mess. It made therapy easier.
In June I had stopped taking the useless meds and stopped falling asleep at various places (e.g. while school) and planed to go on a 1 month trip to Amsterdam and England.
I had become a pretty sociable person by then and everybody kept on saying that “I had changed sooo much”.
So that stopped therapy for 1 1/2 months. After that I only went every second week. Therapist, psychatrist and I decided to quit the anti-depressants too. Slowly. So while I was starting to reduce the stuff I only had an appointment every second week to make sure I wouldnt get suicidal again (cause of the med reduce). After a while the therapist told me it was not really any use that I come any longer, though she enjoys talking to me. We still email now and then to keep in contact. But therapy is finished.

I suggest you talk to your therapist and maybe try to leave longer gaps between your appointments to see if something changes - if you are still fine - make the gaps even longer.
Once a month perhaps. And if you dont miss therapy - fuck it.


[NOTE: I have never been to therapy and as such can not speak from experience]

Well, I’m not particlarly learnéd or anything like that, but I’d say you stop when you feel you’re ready (cheesy answer, I know).

Do you know why you were behaving in such a way that you sent you to therapy in the first place? If so, do you know how to avoid that behavior in the future?

I mean, I would think that the only person really qualified to tell you whether or not you need therapy is you. If you feel you no longer need to go, then you probably don’t.

For what my opinion is worth, it sounds like you think you’re ready to move on and are experiencing the normal fear that comes with any serious adjustment to one’s lifestyle (new job, new town, no more therapist, whatever).

But hey, what do I know :slight_smile:

I’m with Dodgy on this one. If you’re not sure if you want to stop therapy, try spacing your appointments farther apart for a bit and see if that works for you. If you decide to stop altogether, I’d try weaning yourself off of it as well. Personally, I like to have a little bit of a back-up in place – even if I’m doing OK, I schedule check-up appointments just to keep an eye on things.

I’m glad to hear you’re feeling peachy, Turp. That’s pretty smashing, I’d say. :slight_smile:

If you don’t mind my asking, though, why are you afraid to ask Dr. Therapist about stopping?

First - congratulations on your progress, Turpentine! Just starting must have taken guts. Making progress took some work. Atta boy! (Atta girl? Sorry - I don’t know your gender)

Next - I’ve never been in therapy, but from the little amount I know, the therapist’s role seems to be to help guide and teach you. I would think that deciding if you need to continue would be a part of that role. Don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe you realizing that you are improving is a sign she’s looking for that shows you can cut back on the frequency of your sessions.

So…maybe there’s nothing wrong with you?
Therapy can be good if you’re uncomfortable with certain aspects of your personality, or some of the things you do, and need affirmation that you’re not fundamentally flawed, and to learn how to gain insights into your own character that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

But a mentally healthy person is also able to make the determination thatg the questions you went in with have been answered, and it’s time to move along.

As long as you’re not being medicated, and have a good thought process, you will most likely not backslide. You’ve gained perspective, aor reassurance, or whatever.

“Normal” people don’t need theraphy forever; most just need help with a certain aspect or phase of their life. It sound, in your case, like a mature decision to stop. But ditto what everyone else says. Talk to your therapist. If they’re honest, they’ll be honest with you about your progress and whether you’re ready to move on.

Are you paying for it or are your insured. Financial considerations can be a factor. My co-pay is 10 bucks, very affordable, and encouraging to continue.

I am back in therapy trying to deal with serious questions that have got me down. I got down and went on Prozac back in 97. I got back up, which did wonders for my social life I did not pursue the therapy end at that time. I also avoided making some serious decisions about my future that I knew I needed to make.

After being lower than a snake for 2 weeks, I am back on Prozac, with a stronger dose. I am having fun now but I am still in a daze. Last night I skated on the ST. Jacks parade, a renegade parade of skaters and art-cars in Houston. It made for a wild, surreal night.

The medication will help the chemical balance. Therapy, I hope, will give me confidence, direction, and right attitude to follow through with doing things I am afraid to do.

Have you accomplished stuff? Do you need to accomplish more? Think about those questions (as well as expense) about discontinuing, or changing.

Glad to hear you’re better. Congrats!

I’ve been in therapy several times in my life. Once I accidentally got with the wrong therapist, and that was Not Good, but the other times were very helpful.

I recommend you grab your courage with both hands and ask the therapist how much longer she thinks you will need to see her, and whether she thinks it’s time yet to cut back on how often you see her. She may feel that you need to see her for a while longer yet, to make sure there’s no “backsliding”, but modern therapists don’t believe and therapy methods aren’t designed to go on forever. At the same time, she will not want you to feel like she’s trying to drop you from her schedule, because that is harmful to lots of peoples’ self-esteem, and the last thing a therapist wants is to do harm.

Good luck!

For me it just seemed time to stop and my therapist agreed. I didn’t feel exactly “fixed” but I was better at handling things. To my great surprise I also discovered a few weeks after I stopped going that I was still improving on my own. Once the process is well started it keeps on working so have no fear.

Your subject is hardly mundane or pointless. But you picked the best place to put it. I look at all the boards, and this one keeps me the most grounded.

I begin therapy today. The thing is though, that since I started on meds (Zoloft) and I got rid of the gastritis I had for months, my depression has just vanished. It’s a good thing. I’m only going to see if the therapist thinks it’s okay for me to get off the meds now or if I should continue. I’m only on 25 mg/day, which is half of what’s usually prescribed. Anyway, I don’t know what I wanted to say, but I think spacing your visits sounds like a great idea. Are you on meds as well? If you are, don’t quit cold turkey! Major insomnia and other really crappy side effect can occur.
Good luck!
(And good luck to myself on my first session! I’m nervous!)

I can’t add much to the advice you’ve received so far here, Turpentine. I would definitely talk to your therapist though. This is exactly the sort of thing you need to discuss with her…how much you’ve progressed, what her assessment is, how strong you feel in handling things on your own. A good therapist wants you to be able to gain the wisdom & stregnth & skills to handle your life; it means she is doing her job! Spacing out the sessions is a good idea too.

Nobody is “normal”…but hey, you’re not unhappy, and you handle upsets well…Good for you! You sound like you’re doing great. IMO therapy can become too much of a crutch if you & your therapist let it be. Again, you need to talk to her about this.

I’ve been in therapy on & off for about 15 years (I’m bipolar.) I have been on a dizzying array of meds. Currently I’m on 175 mg of Zoloft and 25mg of Celexa, and sleeping pills which I rarely take which is why I’m up at 3:30 am… I shall probably be on meds for the rest of my life :(, so I’m trying to get a combo that doesn’t require me to take lithium or valproate (mood stabilizers) because they make me feel kind of lobotomized. I am seeing my shrink every other week currently (it was weekly), because I am feeling quite stable these days. We are planning on cutting back a little more. At $150.00 a session, and $175.00 a month for meds, it’s kind of expensive for me, so going less often will be nice. :slight_smile:

soda I hope your first session went well!

I just had my three month “tune up” with my therapist on Tuesday. From June to November I was going once a week (sometimes twice a week if a crisis came up that I didn’t feel able to handle). Along about November I began to feel much more confident in my abilities and told Judith (what a great help this woman has been) that I didn’t feel like I needed to see her anymore. She said that was fine with her, it was entirely my decision and she would be available to me if I needed her. There have been a few times when I’ve been rocked back on my heels by things, but I just put what I learned into practice and I get through. My next appointment is in June when my divorce becomes final (super stress time).

The decision to seek and continue therapy is a purely personal one. Only you know how you feel and whether you’re ready to put what you’ve learned into practice. A therapist is really only a teacher of sorts. Everything you need to know is already floating around in you - your therapist just helps you recoginze it, look at it with some objectivity, and put it in a form that you can use. It certainly was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself - I’d be dead without it.

I’m pretty much echoing what everyone else has said - space out your visits and see how that goes. I’m only seeing my therapist once every six months now; we talk about what’s going on in my life and he writes me a new prescription for the meds I’ve been taking for years. This way, if I do have a crisis, he knows enough about what’s going on that we can dive right into the hard stuff, but otherwise, I just go along living my life. No significant backsliding yet.

Yes, it seemed a bit obvious to me that I should just ask Dr. therapist, but I was too bashful to do so.

Assertiveness was something that we have been working on.

I’m not on any meds, I guess that makes things a bit easier.

I think the tip-off that maybe I’m doing ok is when I was telling a worry of mine to Dr. Therapist and she LAUGHED at me!
I was shocked because I didn’t know that therapists were allowed to do that.
The point is, I wasn’t offended that she laughed (just flabbergasted), and admittedly the stuff I was spouting WAS pretty funny. It must mean I’m better if the only thing I had to complain about was THAT. I was laughing, too.

That would be nice for all of us if one day the therapist just said
“Ok, you’re cured, go home now.”

Soda, I was SO nervous the first time as well. I think I posted something here asking all the teeming millions to put my mind at ease. It DOES hurt, but it’s OK. And it’s nice to have someone to talk to who won’t laugh at you no matter what (???). She’s not ALLOWED to.
Good luck!

And thank you, nice people all of you because at times you have been thereputic and some of you make my toes wiggle with delight at times.
Aww…I feel all fuzzy now.


4 months? I think I went for ten years at my longest with one counselor.

There are some simple rules to know when you are done. 1. the counselor talks about themselves too much (Unless you ask them about themselves). 2. You start to feel that you know more than the counselor does & start playing counselor yourself. 3. As you said, you feel fine & don’t have much to talk about anymore. In that case just say that you don’t need to come in anymore for the time being. After all, it’s pretty expensive.