Your therapist is driving you nuts. You aren’t even sure you like them anyway. Or you feel like you aren’t making progress anymore.

Should you quit therapy?

Should I stop therapy?

Therapy is not forever. The whole point is to grow your coping skills so that eventually you need less therapy, or no therapy.

And sometimes the therapy or therapist we are trying just really isn't right for us.

But therapy is also an intense and unique process, which opens us up emotionally and can make us vulnerable. And sometimes we can think we want to quit therapy because we feel uncomfortable, unable to see it's actually part of our progress.

The different reasons to stop therapy

Whether or not it’s time to stop therapy can depend on your reasoning.

1. I’ve been at therapy for awhile and feel I’m coping well now.

Sounds like it’s time to discuss ending your work together with your therapist.

2. I feel there is another type of therapy that might work better for my issues.

Many modern therapists are integrative therapists (trained in several schools of thought). But some only offer one type of therapy that has its purpose and tools, but might not always be what you need.

It’s again worth talking to your therapist, who might be able to refer you on to another therapist who works in a different and more suitable way.

3. It’s been a few sessions now and I’m not feeling a click.

Therapy is at heart a relationship. And for a relationship to click, we need to at least feel we can grow to trust the other, or that we respect them and feel comfortable.

Not all people are made to get along, and if your therapist just isn’t someone you can foresee yourself relaxing with, then it might be time to try another.

It’s recommended, though, to give it about four sessions. Just like dating, sometimes we need time to know how we feel about someone.

Given that most of us end up in therapy as we struggle with relating and trust, sometimes the therapist we aren’t quite sure about ends up being the one we suddenly click with a few sessions in.

4. My therapist is always tired and flustered or even late, and then just stares at me.

Just like not all doctors are good doctors, and not all filmmakers are good filmmakers? Not all therapists are great therapists.

If by bad luck you’ve stumbled across one who seems to be in the wrong career, by all means move on. Just don’t assume all therapists will be as hapless.

5. I’m bored. Each week feels the same old same old.

Boredom is often not the time to quit therapy. Quite the opposite. Therapy is like a journey, and sometimes we are passing through flat fields. But to get to the interesting landscapes we have to keep going.

And boredom can happens if we are approaching a breakthrough and holding back. If each week you are dancing around something, the boredom can be you sabotaging.

The best thing to do if you feel bored is to discuss it with your therapist. Tell them you feel you are treading water. By looking at the boredom you might have that breakthrough.

6. My therapist has started annoying me more and more.

It’s the little things they do. Suddenly you hate how they twitch their mouth. Or that button down shirt they wear each week. The tone of their voice, even.

Here’s a good question. Does this at all replicate what happens to you in other relationships? Romantic ones, colleagues, etc? Again, therapy is a relationship, and our patterns and issues with relating can come up with our therapist.

It’s an opportunity to look at the pattern. Tell your therapist what is happening. Together you can explore what it’s about. And he or she can help you move through the annoyance and see what is on the other side.

7. They said something that really upset me and I’ve hated them ever since.

So… big question. Did you actually TELL them that what they said upset you? If you haven’t, if you are hiding it, or are pretending things are fine? Then this is a big moment.

You have a chance to stop being passive aggressive and try being authentic and honest, in a safe space and with a safe person.

If the very idea of telling your therapist makes you feel terrified, then this is about a relating pattern you’ve probably had for awhile.

If you want to change, then this is a huge opportunity. And remember, you are paying to be honest and open, not to play games.

8. I love them/hate them/ am attracted to them/ scared of them.

This is what is called transference. It happens quite often in therapy. Transference is when we take the way we feel towards one person and put it on another.

In films we see clients who are in love with their therapist. But transference is often negative emotions. We feel enraged, bitter, we want revenge on our therapist. We put feelings we have from people in the past, like parents, onto our therapist.

Again, it’s an opportunity to unearth and process old painful stuff, and the best approach is to, yes, discuss it with your therapist.

9. My therapist seems to be flirting with me or annoyed with me all the time.

Countertransference can happen. A therapist can start to impose their own feelings toward someone else on you. If you are uncomfortable, tell them.

The wrong way to stop therapy

The wrong way to stop therapy is to suddenly, out of the blue, just text your therapist you aren’t coming anymore.

You are missing a chance to practice being open and honest about your feelings. It also means you are missing a chance to find out if you’ve made a mistake.

Given the time and money you've already invested, it's advisable to have a conversation with your therapist about your desire to stop sessions.

When you should stop therapy immediately

Therapists are people, not perfectly formed robots. They can go through hard times like the best of us can, and can make bad decisions. And every profession also has a few bad eggs.

If a therapist in any way engages in inappropriate behaviour, you don’t owe them a conversation. If they:

  • show up unfit for service, drunk or high
  • verbally abuse you
  • make racist or sexist/sexual comments
  • touch you inappropriately
  • physically assault you in any way.

Don’t feel you should go back and talk to them about it but prioritise your own wellbeing. File a complaint with the professional registry they are with, and, in the case of assault, the police.

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