The therapeutic process is a journey — one that looks, feels, and IS different for every individual. If you've been on the journey for a while, you might find it challenging to stop and zoom out to see all of the progress that you've made. Here are a few ways you can work with your therapist to see if it's time for you to put a partial pause or a full pause on your therapy sessions.
If you're having a hard time coming up with things to talk about in your therapy sessions and you feel like your life is going well overall, then it may be a sign that you're ready for a partial pause. If you've been going to therapy weekly, you can talk to your therapist about scaling back to bi-weekly appointments or even once a month. Throughout this transition, it can be helpful to keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and any other issues that arise between sessions so that you can bring them up to your therapist.
A full pause from therapy can be beneficial, as it allows you to gain some perspective on your unique healing process. If you set goals and intentions at the beginning of journey, check back in with those to see if you've made the progress you set out to make.
If you are ready to take a break, let your therapist know as soon as you can so you can agree how to transition out of therapy and maintain your mental health. Remember that you don’t have to be completely free of your issues or typical symptoms to take a full pause from therapy, but you should always plan ahead and be ready for what the future may bring.
Start by identifying resources and coping skills you’ll use when a particular issue, negative thought pattern, strong feeling state, or triggers arise. Going over all of these resources and writing them down in one of your last few therapy sessions can help you feel more confident and in control while you’re on a full pause.
In addition, discuss with your therapist and list your support system of family, friends, and other resources and how you will use those during your break from therapy.
After your last session and the months that follow, it is common to have feelings of grief and loss for your time during therapy and to miss your therapist. This is a part of a natural process of letting go of the relationship with your therapist.
Always be open and talk to your therapist about where you are with therapy whether it is taking a brief break or if you are ready to discontinue therapy. Therapists always want what is best for you and are used to working with their clients to transition them successfully and easily out of therapy.