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Ending Therapy With a Borderline Client: A Guide

ending therapy with a client

Terminating therapy with a borderline client (ending therapy with a borderline client) can be difficult for both the therapist and the client. It is important to understand why termination of therapy might be necessary and to proceed in a way that is respectful of both parties.

In this blog post, we will explore different reasons behind the termination of therapy, as well as the challenges that therapists may face when terminating therapy with a borderline client. We will also hear from experts on this topic, and learn about one therapist’s experience with the termination of therapy.

Understanding Termination Of Therapy

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Therapy is a process that can be terminated for many different reasons. Therapists and clients might decide to terminate therapy if they feel that the goals of treatment have been met, if there is a change in the therapeutic relationship, or if either party feels that it is no longer beneficial.

Reasons Behind Termination Of Therapy

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There are many different reasons why a therapist might choose to terminate therapy with a client. These reasons can include, but are not limited to:

  • The goals of treatment have been met: If the therapist and client agree that the goals of treatment have been met, then it might be time to terminate therapy.
  • The therapeutic relationship has changed: If the therapist or client feels that the therapeutic relationship has changed in a way that is no longer beneficial, termination of therapy may be necessary.
  • The client is not benefiting from therapy: If the therapist or client feels that the client is not benefiting from therapy, it might be time to terminate treatment.
  • The therapist is no longer able to provide effective treatment: If the therapist feels that he or she is no longer able to provide effective treatment, termination of therapy may be necessary.
  • The client is not following through with recommended treatments: If the therapist feels that the client is not following through with recommended treatments, termination of therapy may be necessary.
  • The therapist has moved, retired, or died: If the therapist moves, retires, or dies, termination of therapy may be necessary.

The Right Time/Way To Terminate A Therapy

How therapists terminate therapy can vary based on the situation and relationship with the client. However, there are some general guidelines that therapists can follow when terminating therapy. Therapists should:

  • Always terminate therapy in a way that is respectful of the client.
  • Make sure that the client understands why termination of therapy is necessary.
  • Provide closure for the therapeutic relationship.
  • Make sure that the client has a follow-up plan in place.

Follow-up Plan

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Therapists need to have a follow-up plan in place when terminating therapy with a client. This plan should include recommendations for how the client can continue receiving support after the termination of therapy. Therapists may choose to refer the client to another therapist, provide resources for self-help, or recommend a group or individual counseling.

Difficulty In Termination Of Therapy

Terminating therapy can be difficult for both the therapist and the client. For therapists, it can be difficult to end a relationship that they have worked so hard to build. It can also be difficult to say goodbye to a client who has been a part of their life for a long time.

For clients, termination of therapy can be difficult because it can feel like a loss. Clients may feel sad, angry, or scared when they think about terminating therapy. They may also worry that they will not be able to cope without the therapist’s support.

Related Concerns With Termination Of Therapy

There are a few related concerns that therapists and clients should be aware of when terminating therapy:

  • The client may not take kindly to termination of therapy: Some clients may react negatively when they are told that therapy is ending. They may feel abandoned or rejected by the therapist.
  • The client may struggle after the termination of therapy: Some clients may struggle after the termination of therapy. They may miss the therapist’s support and feel lost without it.
  • The therapist may feel guilty after terminating therapy: Some therapists may feel guilty after terminating therapy. They may feel like they are abandoning the client or that they are not doing their job properly.

Ending Therapy With a Borderline Client

input ending therapy with a client

Terminating therapy with a borderline client can be difficult for the therapist. There are several challenges that therapists may face when terminating therapy, including, the therapist may feel:

  • That he or she is abandoning the client.
  • Struggle to provide closure for the therapeutic relationship.
  • That he or she is not doing enough for the client.
  • Guilty about terminating therapy.
  • That he or she is responsible for the client’s well-being.

These challenges can make terminating therapy with a borderline client difficult for both the therapist and the client. However, it is important to remember that termination of therapy is necessary in some cases, and that there are ways to do so respectfully and effectively.

The Right Time To Do It

There is no one “right” time to terminate therapy with a borderline client. Every situation is different, and the decision should be based on the specific needs of the client. However, there are some general guidelines that therapists can follow. Terminate therapy when:

  • It is no longer beneficial for the client.
  • The therapist feels that he or she is no longer able to help the client.
  • The client is not making progress.
  • The therapist and client have reached a natural end to the therapeutic relationship.

These are just a few of the factors that therapists should consider when deciding whether or not to terminate therapy with a borderline client.

The Right Way To Do

There are several ways that therapists can terminate therapy with a borderline client. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Providing closure for the therapeutic relationship.
  • Make sure that the client has a follow-up plan in place.
  • Referring the client to another therapist.
  • Recommending a group or individual counseling program.
  • Providing the client with resources.

These are just a few of the many ways that therapists can terminate therapy with a borderline client. It is important to remember that every situation is different. And that therapists should tailor their approach to fit the specific needs of the client.

Sending Termination Letter To The Borderline Client

If the therapist decides to terminate therapy with a borderline client through a letter, there are some things that he or she should keep in mind, The letter should:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • The tone of the letter should be respectful.
  • Explain why termination is necessary.
  • Provide information about how to find a new therapist.
  • Be signed by the therapist.

Example Of Therapy Termination Letter

Here is an example of a termination letter to a borderline client:

Dear Client,

Thank you for your time and dedication to therapy. I have decided that it is necessary to terminate our therapeutic relationship.

There are several reasons why I have made this decision, including:

  • The therapy is no longer beneficial for you.
  • I am no longer able to help you.
  • You are not making progress.
  • The therapist/client relationship has come to a natural end.

Please know that I have made this decision with care and consideration and that I believe it is in your best interest.

I would like to provide you with some resources that may help find a new therapist:

  • The American Psychological Association’s “Finding A Psychologist” website:
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ “Find Support” website

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Your Therapist

Guidelines On Terminating Therapy With a Borderline Client

ending therapy with a borderline client

How therapists terminate therapy can vary based on the situation and relationship with the client. However, there are some general guidelines that therapists can follow when terminating therapy. Therapists should:

  • Always terminate therapy in a way that is respectful of the client.
  • Make sure that the client understands why termination of therapy is necessary.
  • Provide closure for the therapeutic relationship.
  • Make sure that the client has a follow-up plan in place.

When terminating therapy, therapists should always remember to put the client’s needs first. It is important to terminate therapy in a way that is respectful and helpful for the client.

Tips For Overcoming Termination Of Therapy

Terminating therapy with a borderline client can be difficult for both the therapist and the client. Here are some tips for overcoming termination of therapy:

Acknowledge that terminating therapy is not always easy: Terminating therapy is not always easy for either the therapist or the client. Acknowledge this fact and be understanding.

Remember that you did what was best for the client: Remember that you decided to terminate therapy because you believed it was best for the client. This is something to be proud of.

Be patient and understanding: Remember that the client is likely to feel angry, sad, and confused after termination. It is important to be patient and understanding during this time.

Allow yourself to feel emotions such as sadness, anger, or guilt: It is natural for therapists to feel emotions such as sadness, anger, or guilt after terminating therapy. It is important to allow yourself to experience these feelings. As it will help you make peace and move on!

Talk about your feelings with a colleague: It can be helpful to talk about your feelings with a colleague. This can help you process the termination of therapy. You can even consider supervision to help you process your decison.

Seek support from colleagues or a therapist: If you are feeling overwhelmed after terminating therapy, it may be helpful to seek support from colleagues or a therapist.

Stay positive and focused on the future: Stay positive and focused on the future, even after terminating therapy. Remember that the client is likely to recover with time.

Expert Opinion On Termination of Therapy

When asked about the best way to terminate therapy with a borderline client, experts had a lot to say:

“The decision to terminate therapy should be based on the needs of the client. If the therapist feels that he or she can no longer help the client, then it is time to end therapy.” – Dr. Josephine Lombardo

“The termination of therapy should be a gradual process that is done in collaboration with the client. The therapist should provide closure for the therapeutic relationship and make sure that the client has a follow-up plan in place.” – Dr. Andres Duarte

Case Study

To provide a better understanding of how the termination of therapy can be difficult for both the therapist and the client, let’s take a look at a case study:

Christina is a 34-year-old woman who has been seeing her therapist for two years. Christina has borderline personality disorder and has struggled with anger issues, relationship problems, and self-esteem issues. Her therapist has been working with her to help her manage her symptoms and improve her quality of life.

Recently, Christina has been making progress in therapy and her therapist feels that she is ready to terminate therapy. Christina is hesitant to end therapy but agrees to do so under the condition that she can continue seeing her therapist for monthly check-ins.

The therapist agrees to this and ends therapy with Christina. Although Christina is sad to see therapy end, she feels grateful for the progress she has made and is optimistic about her future.

Conclusion

Terminating therapy with a borderline client can be difficult for both the therapist and the client. The therapist may feel guilty or unsupported, while the client may struggle to cope without the therapist’s support. However, it is important to remember that termination of therapy is sometimes necessary, and that there are ways to do so respectfully and effectively.

A Word From Therapy Mantra

Your mental health — Your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At TherapyMantra, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, workplace Issues, addiction, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.