I’ve always said that, as a therapist, I’m trying to work my way out of a job. The point of the whole thing is for you to get better, do better, feel better. And not need to come see me anymore.
It’s really nice to have someone to listen to you–and this is a big problem in most relationships–but I’m here to help you better connect to others in your world. Not to connect to just me. I want to help you find people to listen without a diagnosis or a credit card involved.
It’s very important that you feel understood and valued by any therapist you’re seeing. This is huge as it makes you more comfortable when talking about issues that can be difficult. I have a sign in my office that tells clients I won’t speak to them first if I see them in public. We live in the same area and potentially go to the same stores and restaurants, but I never want clients having to explain me to whoever they’re with. It’s no one’s business, but yours. Understand that I’m always glad to see you; I just don’t want you having to explain me or talk to me, if you don’t want.
Going to therapy can seem weird and wrong. It may seem like you’re paying someone to care about you. You may struggle to tell a stranger very personal things about your life. On the other hand, sometimes a stranger is just what you want. Someone you don’t have to face again, if you don’t want. Someone without a vested interest, beyond you doing well.
Don’t feel like you owe me anything(beyond your fee. Gotta pay the electric bill). Therapy is all about you. It’s focused on you and how you feel and what you need to learn to make your life better. It’s common that when clients get to this point in therapy, they just don’t come back anymore. No cancellation, no statement to the therapist. They just evaporate. I think its from awkwardness. They don’t know how to tell the therapist that they don’t need her anymore(they think) or they think I’ll be hurt by them going on with their life and not coming in to see me.
No, I really am trying to work my way out of a job. There’s no shame in struggling toward a better place. If you falter and want to come back, I’ll understand. But getting better is a good thing. Not needing to talk anymore about your issues is a good thing.
So when you’ve learned what you need to learn, when you want to take a break from the sometimes-exhausting process. When you don’t need to come back, it’s okay to say goodbye.