Whether formal or informal, planned or unplanned, it’s going to happen every time treatment is initiated.
What do we know about the subject?
Nearly 50% of people who start, discontinue without warning. At the time they end, half have experienced no meaningful improvement in their functioning or well-being. On the other hand, of those who do continue, between 35-40% experience no measurable benefit despite continuous engagement in lengthy episodes of care.
Such findings remind me of the lyrics to the Beatles’ tune, “Hello Goodbye.”
You say stop and I say go, go, go, oh no!
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
Here’s another key research finding: the most effective therapists have significantly more planned terminations.
In a recent study, Norcross, Zimmerman, Greenberg, and Swift identified eight core, pantheoretical processes associated with successful termination. You can read the article here. Better yet, download and begin using the “termination checklist”–a simple, yet helpful method for ensuring you are putting these evidence-based principles to work with your clients. Best of all, listen to my recent interview with John Norcross, Ph.D., the study’s first author, as we discuss how therapists can master this vitally important part of the therapeutic experience.
Until next time,
Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, International Center for Clinical Excellence