When is it time to stop seeing your therapist?

For the past 13 weeks, the question that continued to plaque me was “When is it time to stop seeing my therapist?”

Since I stopped seeing Dr. B last year, due to her office no longer accepting insurance, I was very anxious about finding someone new. I had a great connection with Dr. B. She understood me and was a great listener. I know it is her job to listen, but she genuinely wanted to help me and see me succeed. When I was referred to Dr. S, I was hesitant. For one, I wasn’t very comfortable seeing a Male psychologist. I’m not really accustomed to spilling my guts to men. It’s usually been the woman in my family, and female friends. My husband is really the only male I tell everything to. I speak to my dad as well on occasion, but never in depth like I do with my husband. It seemed however, that Dr. S was the only one available to see me, so I told myself to give it a shot. I was unable to find anyone else, closer to home, so I booked an appointment with him.

As soon as I started seeing Dr. S, I realized I was anxious every time I had to drive to his office. This happened most of the 13 weeks I went to see him. There were plenty of times that he helped me look within myself to realize why certain things happen or why I was feeling certain emotions. But more then none, when I left his office, I continued to feel sad or anxious. At times I felt like a horrible person. This is no way to feel when seeing a psychologist. They are there to help us. To help us see the good in ourselves, as well as our weaknesses and how we can work on our weaknesses. A few times I contemplated calling Dr. S on the phone and telling him I no longer wanted to continue our sessions. Something always held me back though. I spoke with my husband and a close friend of mine, and they both basically told me this didn’t seem like a good fit for me. I tried long enough to make a connection, but it just wasn’t working.

After speaking to my husband and friend, I spoke with Dr. B about how I was feeling. She told me to follow my gut; If my gut said to end our sessions, then that’s what I should do. But I needed to do it in person. She said it would be great for my self esteem down the road. That is also something I read online from an article titled: Therapists Spill: How to End Therapy. (http://psychcentral.com/lib/therapists-spill-how-to-end-therapy/). Here is what the article says about ending sessions:

3. Talk in person. Avoid ending therapy with a text, email or voicemail, Marter said. “Speaking directly is an opportunity to practice assertive communication and perhaps also conflict resolution, making it is an opportunity for learning and growth.”

After reading the article, I told myself I will end my sessions in person, no matter how nervous and anxious it made me feel and that’s exactly what I did last week. I went in for my regular session and I sat down with my heart beating outside my chest. I looked at him and said “I came in to tell you that I no longer want to continue our sessions”. Once the words came out, so did my tears! Ugh, I hate crying when I’m nervous or upset, but it’s a part of me. He told me not to worry, and thank you for being honest with him. For the next 20 minutes, he asked me what was it about him or our sessions that I did not like. I explained that I still felt no connection to him, which he told me was very important. I then went on to tell him he wasn’t very nurturing and at times I felt he was frustrated with me or expected me to understand my emotions, when I really didn’t. He apologized to me for not being very understanding to my feelings but that he was glad I told him how I felt. He also told me this was good for me because now with  my next therapist, I can quickly put an end to things I do not like and explain what it is I need, in order to maintain a connection. With all that said, I thanked him and went on my way.

I’m not going to lie, I felt terrible after I ended my sessions with Dr. S. I felt like I had failed him or myself in some ways. After a couple of days however, I realized that I really did try my best. I went for 13 weeks, feeling unhappy and anxious. Nothing changed, so I had to make the change myself. I am proud that I rose up to the challenge. Had I not done so, I would still be unhappily continuing my sessions.

Now that I’m not seeing Dr. S, I have been feeling anxious and irritable. I still need help with techniques. I need to learn how to deal with certain emotions and how to stop blaming myself for things.I need to learn how to get outside my head. When I think too much, I create a lot of anxiety that doesn’t need to be present. It’s incredibly nerve wracking to start over a 3rd time with a new psychologist, but I know I need to find someone else. That’s why today I looked through my health insurances directory again and found two female psychologists I would like to work with. I left a voice mail for one of them and I am really hoping she can see me.

Despite how much I have changed for the better, I still have a long ways to go…

– Jen

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