Tags: psychotherapy | therapy | break | well-being | break | symptoms

When to Take a Break From Therapy

counseling session

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2024 10:09 AM EST

In many cases, psychotherapy isn’t meant to last forever. In fact, if your symptoms are getting better, taking a break can build resiliency and let you test the tools you’ve been taught.

“Among those who can afford it, regular psychotherapy is often viewed as a lifelong project,” notes psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Friedman, in The Atlantic. Studies suggest that the most common forms of therapy are not designed for long-term use. The shared goal is to end treatment because you feel and function well enough to thrive on your own.

The exception to this applies to those with serious mental health disorders such as major depression or bipolar disorders, says Friedman. These patients should discuss their individual situations with their therapist. “My rule of thumb is that you should have minimal or no symptoms of your illness for six months or so before even considering to take a pause. At any time, if you’re feeling worse, you can always go back.”

According to Open Therapy, there are five signs that signal it’s time to take a vacation from treatment:

• You start feeling bored. Therapy helps reveal insights into personal growth and development and can be exciting when new. But there comes a time when these revelations become less frequent and less profound, and therapy begins to feel boring.

• You start repeating yourselves. Sometimes repetition can be productive, and you learn by going back to the same topics going deeper each time. At other times, repetition can be fruitless. You cover the same ground over and over again and find nothing new. If you find that you and your therapist are repeating the same insights and observations it may indicate it’s time to move on.

• Your sessions become “chattier.” When talking with your therapist feels like talking to a friend over lunch, it may be a sign than your therapy is running out of steam. Your therapist is not your friend, say experts, and too much chit-chat during a session means you may have covered all the bases in therapy and its time to move on, at least for now.  

• You don’t feel different after therapy. Early on in therapy, patients often experience feelings of elation or perhaps profound introspection after a session. There’s a point in therapy when this feeling stops happening as often — or it doesn’t at all — and it’s a sign that you’ve worked through the emotional pain that first brought you into therapy. If you find therapy is not making major shifts in your well-being, you may have already achieved your goals.

• You find reasons to cancel sessions. If your life hasn’t become unusually hectic and you find yourself canceling therapy sessions more frequently, it might be a sign that you are trying to move on. It’s possible to take a break from therapy and come back or do once-monthly sessions for a while until you are ready to dive back and get into some deeper work. But in many cases, wanting to taper the frequency of sessions is a sign that you feel there is less to do.

According to BetterHelp, an online platform that provides online counseling, taking a break from therapy is not uncommon, and can offer a chance to put your skills into practical use, build a support system of family and friends, or join support groups. These connections can help with the continuation of emotional and mental well-being.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

In many cases, psychotherapy isn't meant to last forever. In fact, if your symptoms are getting better, taking a break can build resiliency and let you test the tools you've been taught. "Among those who can afford it, regular psychotherapy is often viewed as a lifelong...
psychotherapy, therapy, break, well-being, break, symptoms
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 10:09 AM
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