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Understanding and Handling Therapy Terminations

7 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $69.00

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

This course was produced in collaboration between Taylor & Francis, PLC and the Zur Institute, Inc. The Zur Institute, Inc. maintains responsibility for this continuing education program and its content.

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

Like death, termination in therapy--planned or unplanned--is inevitable, and most people aren't adequately prepared for it. Research shows that termination may be one of the least studied phases of therapy and many therapists report that they haven't been adequately trained to handle it. Yet, like other phases of therapy, termination, if handled well by the therapist, presents clients with the challenge and opportunity to continue growing after they say goodbye. Termination presents many personal, ethical, and professional challenges to therapists.

This intermediate level course helps prepare therapists for the challenges of planned and unplanned, client and therapist-initiated terminations. The first section covers termination in couples, family and adolescent therapy from three therapy orientations--Bowenian, structural-strategic and psychoanalytic. The second section considers termination in individual therapy from a psychoanalytic perspective and also introduces the common and under-addressed issues around forced termination, which usually occurs when interns have to initiate termination because their internship ends. The third section goes into the issue of forced termination in more depth from a general psychotherapy orientation and presents both training and therapy issues from the psychology intern's point of view. Finally the fourth section offers resources for further readings and sections on termination from mental health organizations' codes of ethics.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Discuss couple and family therapy termination from a Bowenian and structural-strategic perspective.

2.    Identify the differences in terminations of Axis I and Axis II clients.

3.    Discuss termination from a psychoanalytic relational perspective.

4.    Compare the differences between client-initiated and therapist-initiated terminations.

5.    Summarize the influence of therapists' history and personal issues upon termination.

6.    Discuss when termination should be discussed and how to process the issues and feelings.

7.    Discuss the characteristics of post-termination growth.

Course Syllabus

Types of termination

  • Client dropouts
  • Client initiated termination
  • Therapist initiated termination
  • Mutually initiated termination

Termination in couple, family and child and adolescent therapy

Termination in individual therapy

  • The differences between terminating with Axis I and Axis II clients

Post-termination growth

Termination and mourning

  • Client's mourning
  • Therapist's mourning

Ethical considerations

  • When to bring up termination, and when not to
  • Balancing wishes of client to terminate with clinical perspective

Forced terminations and psychology interns

  • How interns feel about having to terminate prematurely when their internship ends
  • Training and support issues for interns around termination issues

Additional resources

  • Further readings
  • Codes of ethics concerning termination
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