Marriage counselors are trained to help couples create successful marriages. Counselors know what to look for in healthy relationships and can help couples achieve lasting results. When partners have problems, they usually just need some redirection to renew that relationship spark. However, that doesn’t mean the therapist should always decide how long therapy should last.
Counseling should always be about the couple, never the couples therapist.
How does a couple decide when enough is enough? Are there signs that say you’re ready to manage things on your own? What should a couple do when they feel therapy may be coming to an end?
These are good questions. But first, you should give yourselves credit. Working through tough issues can be a big job. Remind yourselves that every couple has difficulties and that they too must find new solutions along the way. Know that it also might take more than just a few sessions to resolve the tension that has taken years to build. It helps to be realistic about a time-line for change.
Some indicators of being ready for life on your own include regularly doing things that enrich your marriage and being able to let go of past hurts. Once your relationship improves, you and your therapist might agree to end the counseling. Ultimately, all parties should feel like the goals of therapy have been met.
Find a therapist you’re comfortable with.
A good therapist knows that it’s not about them and aims to make you feel as comfortable and encouraged as possible. For example, abruptly ending counseling can be more than just bad timing. It can also worsen an unresolved problem. This is why it helps to take a few sessions to discuss how you feel, or what types of feelings to expect after terminating therapy.
Always consult with your therapist, and give yourselves the opportunity to have a productive ending. Talking things through is important, because you may come to realize that the desire to part ways is premature. And even if you decide to leave, processing this in therapy is very helpful.
Your therapist should always be willing to address these feelings and be willing to answer questions about terminating therapy.
Achieving closure in a positive way helps honor the relationship you’ve built. Therapy can be a practice in good endings, unlike most. Clinical psychologist Ryan Howes says that an end in therapy can be “more like bittersweet graduation than a sad, abrupt, or complicated loss. Ideally, you can have a satisfying closure to therapy that will help you end your relationships well in the future” (Tartakovsky, 2018. para. 3).
Remember that therapy doesn’t last forever. If you feel insecure about terminating services, the best approach is to tell your therapist. Therapy should draw to a close if it’s unlikely to benefit the client, or when it becomes reasonably clear that the continued service is no longer needed.
It’s never too late for divorce recovery counseling. For more information, contact the Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center in Little Rock, Arkansas today at (501) 222-3464, or submit this form for a free consultation.
Tartakovsky, M. (2018, Oct. 23). Therapists Spill: How to End Therapy. Psych Central.