Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychotherapy-Termination, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Premature termination, Psychotherapy, Therapy, Clinician's perspective, Terminate


This study was conducted to explore why clinicians prematurely terminate their own psychotherapy. The motivation for this study was to further the existing knowledge about premature termination in general by collecting data from clients who themselves have been trained in the field of psychotherapy. This exploratory qualitative study aimed to further clinicians, researchers and clients understanding of why premature termination occurs. One of the primary goals for this research was to determine whether clinicians could provide more in-depth and descriptive language about premature termination. This research study was conducted through an online survey of 49 in-training, licensed and retired psychologists, Marriage and Family therapists and social workers. The survey asked clinicians to describe their experience of prematurely terminating personal psychotherapy in a brief paragraph. The survey was created on SurveyMonkey and distributed through email and online mediums using snowball sampling. A major finding of this research was that clinicians terminated personal psychotherapy for the same reasons as general population clients. Clinicians terminated personal psychotherapy due to (a) lack of attunement (b) lack of rapport (c) conflict of modality (d) circumstantial reasons (e) resistance (f) transference and counter-transference and (g) ethical reasons. Resistance was indicated more by participants in this research then in past studies, suggesting that resistance may play an important role in client-initiated termination and should be examined in further research. At the end of this research study, suggestions are given about how the findings of this research can be incorporated into future research and clinical practice.




iv, 62 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 54-56)