“You’re Breaking Up With Me?”

The Ethics of Termination

Therapeutic relationships end. Termination coming at the completion of treatment is the ideal scenario, but studies say that many clients leave after their first or second sessions. Of course, a large number of clients attend for much longer than that and terminates “prematurely.” As implied in the title, therapists initiate termination as well.  Since termination is a critical part of the therapeutic relationship we will discuss many facets of that issue. We will watch entertaining and provocative film clips and also consider clinical examples followed by lively discussions about the insights and reactions raised. Relevant ethical code provisions will be a part of the discussion.


Discuss premature terminations and “failures” in therapy and what therapists can do to avoid them

Understand how to appropriately manage termination throughout the relationship

Identify the goals of ethical and therapeutically beneficial terminations

Be aware of the ethical requirement of a professional will

Discuss behavioral ethics, which examines how people behave facing ethical dilemmas