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When Enough Is Enough (Psychotherapy)

Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 2006, Summer, 9, 2

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There is a general expectation among therapists and clients alike that at some point, psychotherapy will end. This expectation is reinforced in ethical codes and standards of practice for mental health practitioners, which outline parameters and procedures for the termination of psychotherapy. (1-5) Practical considerations and ethical guidelines regarding when and how to end therapy do not always satisfactorily address the needs and feelings of clients or protect therapists from exposure to administrative or legal action. Regular monitoring of client complaints to licensing boards, disciplinary actions filed against mental health practitioners by those boards, and civil suits filed against mental health practitioners reveals that one of the primary complaints and causes of action is negligent "abandonment" of clients by their treating therapists. When It's Over, It's Over