Return to all articles

How to Break Up With Your Therapist: Templates and Tips

A person with long red hair sits on a red couch, dressed in all denim, looking down at a laptop.

Ending therapy doesn’t have to be awkward. Learn how to respectfully communicate your decision with tips, templates, and expert guidance.

I have been a therapy client for almost 15 years, and in that time, I’ve ended relationships with many different therapists.

Sometimes it was unremarkable, not unlike handing in a resignation letter at a job. Sometimes it was deeply emotional, with tears flowing on both sides. And one time, it was even contentious, revealing just how ill-fitting the relationship really was.

Maybe, like me, you’ve googled how to end a relationship with a therapist, and found the advice to be too simplistic and vague. If that’s you, you’ve landed in the right place!

There are no hard and fast rules in this article, and no shaming of your choices here, either — just tried and true guidance to help you make decisions that feel authentic and supportive for you.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Misconceptions: We’ll unpack some common myths about breaking up with a therapist
  • How to communicate: We’ll explore some of the reasons why you might choose to end the relationship via email/text versus in-person
  • What to say: We offer text/email templates and in-person prompts for how to end the relationship, and how to advocate for what you need
  • Real talk about ghosting: Is it ever okay to ghost your therapist? Are there other options if you hate conflict? (Sometimes and yes!)


If you suspect that your therapist’s behavior is inappropriate or unsafe, please reach out to a trusted person to explore your options, which may include reporting the therapist, pursuing legal action, or contacting another therapist or advocacy group for guidance.

The suggestions in this article may not be appropriate in situations where your therapist is violating the ethical guidelines of their profession, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Misconceptions About Ending Therapy

Before you start planning the end of this relationship, Iet’s clear up some common misconceptions that may be holding you back.

You owe your therapist a ‘proper goodbye,’ so as not to hurt their feelings.

It’s great that you respect your therapist as a person and want to ensure that this respect is conveyed to them! That said, in a healthy therapeutic relationship, you’re encouraged to center your own needs, and to trust that your therapist can manage their own feelings independently.

Your therapist is trained to navigate the end of a relationship, even if that ending is messy or unexpected. Do your best to focus on what you need to feel supported, and reflect on what (if anything) might give you a sense of closure and confidence moving forward.

It’s just like ending a dating relationship.

Well, not really! While a therapeutic relationship can be emotionally intimate, it’s important to remember it’s not the same as a romantic relationship. A therapist is a care provider whose role is solely focused on supporting you, and who is both trained and compensated to offer care to you.

The breakup, then, should be centered on your needs, and if asked, your therapist should be taking steps to ensure a smooth transition, including offering referrals to other providers or making suggestions for next steps.

You are not responsible for how your therapist reacts to ending the relationship, and unlike a breakup with a partner, your therapist should only share how they’re feeling if it’s supportive of your connection, closure, and growth.

If your therapist becomes defensive or upset, you did something wrong.

If your therapist becomes defensive or upset, that isn’t your fault or responsibility! They may be taken by surprise, they may feel unprepared, and they may even need supervision from another clinician.

But part of their job is ensuring they have the support in place for themselves to support you in any context — and that includes when you’re ending the relationship and asserting your needs.

You owe your therapist an explanation as to why you’re ending things.

While sharing your reasons might be an opportunity to practice advocating for what you need, and discussing your reasoning may be helpful in giving you some additional confidence and closure, you’re under no obligation to explain your reasons for ending a therapeutic relationship.

It’s rude to offer feedback to your therapist.

If your therapist could have or should have done something differently, you are welcome to offer them that feedback if it would feel empowering to vocalize!

For example, when I broke up with a therapist who I didn’t feel supported by, I explained to her the aspects of our relationship that felt harmful to me. She didn’t take it well, but I still felt proud of myself for asserting my needs, and was able to process the experience with my new therapist.

Similarly, I’ve given feedback to therapists who genuinely appreciated the opportunity to reflect — and having that feedback be well-received was a healing experience for me, especially as a people-pleaser.

You have to end it in-person if you’ve seen them for a long time.

It can be helpful to practice ending a relationship in-person, especially because advocating for yourself is a muscle that you flex and build overtime! But that’s best practiced with a safe person.

The conventional advice of, “If you’ve worked together for more than [a month, a few months, etc], always end it in-person” falls flat in relationships where there isn’t trust, safety, and consistent support. Even therapists you’ve seen for a year or more may not have earned that trust, and it’s okay if that influences your decision.

Your therapist will try to talk you out of it, or will interrogate you.

Barring situations where your therapist has concerns about your immediate safety, or maybe if you’ve discussed together your tendency to isolate or push others away when struggling, a good therapist will ultimately honor your “no” and support you in directing your own care.

Your therapist may ask you questions about what other supports you have in place, and may invite you to offer feedback or process your decision, but you should never feel pressured or coerced into staying in the therapeutic relationship.

If you feel that way, know that you can end the session at any time, for any reason.

Ending a therapeutic relationship with a little white lie is totally fine! You’ll never see them again anyway.

Generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend telling a lie when you’re ending a therapy relationship, even if that lie seems “harmless.”

In the event you’d like to meet with this provider again, or if you need to reach out for some type of temporary support (like referrals, disability paperwork, coordinating care with another provider or clinic, or accessing records), it’s best to end things in an honest way to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible asking for help down the road.

That said, if you told a lie when ending the relationship, don’t let that discourage you from reaching out for help in the future!

Therapists are also human beings, and they understand that sometimes we make less optimal decisions when we’re trying to avoid conflict or hurting someone’s feelings — and that could be something you work on together in the future.

It’s always wrong to ghost your therapist.

I wouldn’t say it’s always wrong to ghost your therapist. As with most things, I would say, “It depends.”

When possible, the dignity of a clear “I’m discontinuing our work together” is certainly appreciated. But there may be situations where conflict or misunderstandings between the client and therapist are so profound, it might be unsafe or too destabilizing to navigate.

Alternatively, it may be a level of vulnerability you simply aren’t ready for, or a relationship where you were harmed and don’t wish to engage any further.

In that context, ghosting might feel like your only option (or, in rare instances, it is the only safe option). We’ll discuss ghosting more — and some alternatives that may be available to you — later on in the article.

How Should I Communicate My Decision to End Therapy?

When to End Therapy via Email, Text, or Voicemail

This might be your method if:

  • You don’t wish to invest additional time and/or money into a closing session (because the relationship is shorter-term, or because the relationship hasn’t felt supportive overall)
  • You don’t feel enough trust or safety with your provider, and suspect an in-person conversation would make you feel worse
  • It’s important to you to have a written record of how your provider interacts with you post-termination, because they’ve behaved unpredictably in the past
  • You struggle to vocalize your authentic feelings and needs in-person, and aren’t able or ready to try another way

Before breaking up via text/email, ask yourself:

Are you avoiding the vulnerability of a closing session, where it otherwise might be supportive of your growth to lean in? Could you be open about your discomfort and see how your therapist reacts? Is it helpful to remember that you can end the session at any time?

“Even though we’d worked together for almost a year, I didn’t fully trust my therapist and I wasn’t confident that he would handle it professionally, and I was pretty sure I would shut down. Email allowed me to advocate for myself more than I could have in-person. Now I’m working on assertiveness with a new therapist that I actually trust!” —Noah

“Breaking up over text allowed me to avoid the awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation, especially as someone who can be conflict-averse, while also letting me find another therapist who was closer fit to my needs.” —Parker

When to End Therapy In-Person

This might be your method if:

  • You wish to process the relationship, reflect on the therapy experience as a whole, and/or plan your next steps
  • You’re feeling vulnerable at the end of therapy and want to practice sharing those feelings with a safe person
  • You’d like to celebrate your progress and growth, or receive feedback from your therapist in some way
  • You have feedback you’d like to give your therapist, whether that’s gratitude for their support, grief around what wasn’t supportive, or a mix of the two

Before breaking up in-person, ask yourself:

What do you need to feel more secure going into a session like this? Do you have a self-care plan for after the session? Do you need an exit strategy in your back pocket (“Thanks for your feedback, but I’d like to end the session here”) to feel secure in your ability to leave?

“I’m glad we had a closing session. It allowed me to thank my therapist for all she had done for me, and hear her perspective on my choice to end therapy together at that time!” —Jessica

“I thought it was going to be super awkward and I was nervous. I really hate confrontation, but I wanted to challenge myself to stay with the discomfort, and I’m so glad I did. Our closing conversation allowed me to give some important feedback, and helped me feel more confident in my decision.” —Mateo

When to Send a Breakup Text/Email Before Your Final Session

This might be your method if:

  • Reaching out via text/email first can be a way of “warming up” to giving authentic feedback in-person
  • You need reassurance from your therapist that they support your decision before you meet in-person
  • You’ve wanted to end the relationship for a while, but when you show up to session, you struggle to assert yourself
  • You feel more comfortable knowing your therapist is on the same page before you meet

Do you really need to send that email/text first?

Remember, it’s your therapist’s job to manage their reaction to the end of the relationship! A “heads up” to your therapist is not a requirement.

If you’re nervous about how your therapist will react, you might consider letting them have their feelings without reassuring them or people-pleasing, and decide not to message in advance for that reason.

That said, if you don’t feel ready to try that, that’s completely valid! There’s nothing wrong with sending a message ahead of time if it helps you feel more prepared for the end of the relationship.

“I chose to give my therapist a heads up via text before our session, which helped me feel more relaxed for our closing session. It took some of the pressure off, and it meant that I didn’t need to worry about her immediate reaction. She already knew going into the appointment, so we could just focus on supporting me at that moment.” —Emma

Ready for your next chapter?

When you’re ready to find a new therapist, Alma is here to support you. Our directory has over 20,000 providers, which you can filter by specialty, identity, insurance, and more.

How to Break Up With Your Therapist via Email or Text

If you aren’t sure what to say, we’ve got you! Below are some scripts for ending a therapy relationship via text or email (or even voicemail). If you need to edit them to sound more “you,” please do!

If the relationship felt supportive…


I’ve been reflecting a lot on my therapy needs moving forward. While I’m so grateful for the work we’ve done together, I’ve decided to explore other kinds of support as my needs have recently shifted.

(Optional Appreciation) Your support has been very meaningful to me, and I’ve felt especially grateful for [your insights around OCD, our EMDR sessions, what you taught me about self-compassion, etc].

(Optional Explanation) Moving forward, though, I’m curious to see how [coaching, another modality, a clinician that takes my insurance, a clinician who shares my identity, group therapy, etc] might better align with what I need currently. If you have any other recommendations for me to consider, I’d appreciate those as well!

At this time, I don’t need a closing session with you and feel comfortable pausing here. If I need anything else or decide I’d like a final appointment after all, I’ll be sure to reach out to you.

Thanks so much!


If the relationship felt neutral…


I’ve been reflecting a lot on my therapy needs moving forward, and I’ve decided to explore other options as my needs have recently shifted.

(Optional Explanation) I have appreciated your perspective, but [we aren’t clicking, I need to try something new, I’m not seeing the progress I hoped for]. I’m curious to see how [coaching, another modality, a clinician that takes my insurance, a clinician who shares my identity, group therapy, etc] might better align with what I need currently. If you have any related recommendations, I’d be happy to receive them.

At this time, I don’t need a closing session with you and feel comfortable ending here. If I need anything else or decide I’d like a final appointment after all, I’ll be sure to reach out to you.

Thanks so much!


If the relationship felt challenging…


I’ve been reflecting a lot on my therapy needs and our relationship as a whole, and I’ve decided to find alternative support for my mental health.

(Optional Explanation) While I was hoping to work on [GOAL: boundaries, work/life balance, autistic burnout, etc], I’m not feeling supported in that work with you, and I need to explore other options.

(Optional Feedback) I have found [BEHAVIOR: your cutting me off in-session, your invalidating my grief, your tardiness to our sessions, etc] has especially impacted my trust in this process and in you as my therapist.

At this time, I don’t need a closing session with you.

(Optional Boundary) Additionally, I only need an acknowledgement that this message was received — I’m not looking to process this message or our relationship any further.

Thanks for your understanding.


Some encouragement from a provider:

“Therapists completely respect that you may make the decision to discontinue therapy for a wide range of reasons. We also understand that it can be hard to talk about that decision with us. Although we would always prefer to have the opportunity to talk with you about your decision so we can say goodbye, we would like to hear it from you in some form because we care about you and want to know that you are OK. As human beings who have invested in your well-being, we appreciate your communication.” Dr. Emily Mohr, psychologist

How to Break Up With Your Therapist In-Person

If you are planning to meet in-person or over video, but you aren’t sure how to initiate a conversation about ending the therapeutic relationship, here are some thought-starters to chew on! And remember, you can always edit these to sound more natural to you.

If the relationship felt supportive…

Conversation Starters

  • Before we get started, I wanted to let you know upfront that I’d like today to be our last session, and I was hoping we could process that together. Are you open to that?
  • To be totally honest, I’m feeling really [nervous, uncomfortable, excited, hopeful, overwhelmed] today. I’ve decided that I’d like to wrap up our work and make this our last session, but [I’m worried about your reaction, I’m not confident about my decision, I’m unsure of where to go from here]. Can we talk about it?
  • I’ve been thinking about my goals and the progress we’ve made together, and it’s feeling to me like we’ve reached a natural stopping point in our work together. I was wondering if today’s session could focus on transitioning out of therapy with you, and exploring next steps. Would that be okay?

Ways to Advocate For Your Needs

If you want to receive feedback or reassurance:

  • I’d love to reflect on my progress. Do you mind sharing any observations you have about how I’ve grown in our work together?
  • Are there any growth areas you might encourage me to explore in the future? What resources would you recommend if I want to explore them?
  • I’m feeling unsure of what happens after therapy. Can we explore what kinds of support I might need and what my options are?
  • I’m noticing that I feel really anxious about how YOU’RE feeling. Can we check in about that?
  • If you could leave me with any takeaway from our time together, what lesson or lessons would you want me to carry forward?

If you want to give feedback:

  • I have some feedback about what hasn’t felt supportive in our work together, but I’m nervous to share it. Are you open to hearing that feedback?
  • When I knew our relationship was coming to a close, I started [journaling, writing a list of what I learned, writing a letter to you]. I’d like to read something that I wrote, if that’s cool with you?
  • You have been such an important part of my journey. I’m not sure how to express that with words, but I’d like to try. It’s meant a lot to me that you…

If the relationship felt challenging…

Conversation Starters

  • Before we get started, I wanted to let you know upfront that I’d like today to be our last session, and I’m having some difficult feelings come up around this. Are you open to processing this with me?
  • To be totally honest, I’m feeling really [nervous, uncomfortable, overwhelmed] today. I’ve decided that I’d like to wrap up our work and make this our last session, but [I’m worried about your reaction, I’m hesitating to be fully honest, I’m not sure how you’ll receive this]. Can we talk about it?
  • I know this might feel abrupt, but I was wondering if today’s session could focus on transitioning out of therapy with you. I need to switch gears and look for a different kind of support, and I’d like this time together to be focused on what I need to make that transition. Is that something you can help me with?

Ways to Advocate For Your Needs

To set the tone:

  • I want this last session to be a space where I can practice saying how I really feel, even when it’s hard. Do you feel able to support me in that?
  • I have some feedback about what hasn’t felt supportive in our work together, but I’m nervous to share it. Are you open to hearing that feedback?
  • I know that you might want a deeper explanation of why I’ve made this decision, but what I actually need from you today is [planning around next steps, guidance around what resources are available, a referral to another provider or clinic]. Can we focus there instead?

If the vibes feel off:

  • I’m noticing that I’m worried about how you might be feeling. I’d appreciate some reassurance that you’re feeling okay to continue this conversation.
  • I’m sensing that you might be [frustrated, defensive, disappointed, surprised]. What I need from you right now is [support around my decision, reassurance that you understand how I feel, concrete guidance about next steps]. Is that something you can offer?
  • I understand that my reasoning might feel unclear or confusing to you, but I don’t feel that the questions you’re asking are supportive of my decision. Is there another kind of support you can offer at this moment?
  • I appreciate the context, but I don’t need an explanation as much as I need to feel heard and validated in the ways that I was hurt. Do you understand what I’m feeling, and why I might feel that way?
  • I appreciate you acknowledging my feelings, but I also need a clearer understanding of why you approached me that way. Can you help me understand what was happening for you?
  • Can we pause for a moment? I’m feeling [unsafe, uncomfortable, stressed, overwhelmed], and I need a minute to gather my thoughts.

To end the conversation:

  • This isn’t working for me — I’m going to end the conversation here. Thank you for your time.
  • I think I’ve got what I needed from this conversation. I’m going to end things here, and if I need anything else, I’ll reach out via email. Take care.
  • I’m grateful that you were able to hear me today. I appreciate your willingness to do that. This feels like a good place to end things, but if I need anything else, I’ll be sure to get in touch. Thanks so much!

Some encouragement from a provider:

“What I wish clients knew about our final therapy session is that all feelings are welcome and valid. There may be sadness, disappointment, anger, relief — everything is welcome. Therapists have feelings regarding terminating with clients themselves! Many of us will also miss the relationships we've built with clients.” —Alex Maxwell, LMSW

How to Ask For a Final Session via Text/Email

Sometimes breaking the relationship off in phases can feel more helpful. If that’s more your speed, we’ve got templates for how to give your provider a "heads up" that you'd like to end the relationship and make your next session together your last.

If the relationship felt supportive…

Send this text/email before your next session:

  • Hi NAME! I’m reaching out to let you know that, after reflecting on my progress in therapy and what I’d like to focus on moving forward, I believe we’ve reached a natural stopping point in our work together. Can we focus on next steps in our upcoming session?
  • Hi NAME! I’m writing to you with a mix of emotions that I’m hoping we can untangle together. I think I’d like to end our work together, and while I’m feeling [hopeful, excited, proud] to have figured out what I need, I’m also quite [nervous, sad, unsure] about ending this relationship. Can we chat about this next session?

If the relationship felt challenging…

Send this text/email before your next session:

  • Hi NAME! I’m reaching out to let you know that, after reflecting on our work together, I’ve realized that I need to switch gears and find other support. I’m thinking that our next session will be our last, and was wondering if you’re open to processing this decision with me. I feel firm about ending the relationship, but would still like to unpack what’s coming up for me as I do, if you’re open to that.
  • Hi NAME! After reflecting on the work we’ve done together, I’ve realized that I need to seek out a different kind of support. As you can imagine, this is a hard conversation to initiate, and I’m nervous to share what hasn’t been working for me, but I’m hoping it might offer some sense of closure. If we were to have one more session together, do you feel able to receive honest feedback from me?

Some encouragement from a provider:

“Making the decision to end an episode of care can feel hard and unnatural for me, too — AND, I also know it’s a sign of all the growth that has occurred and can be celebrated. Also, my commitment to your wellbeing doesn’t end with termination; I am here as a resource for you moving forward.”Dr. Elisabeth Morray, Psychologist

Is It Ever Okay to Ghost Your Therapist?

Ghosting does happen sometimes! In many cases, it’s to avoid potential discomfort or awkwardness, which is an understandable instinct.

That said, with the exception of unsafe or harmful providers, directly ending a relationship with your therapist could be a meaningful opportunity to practice direct communication and self-advocacy.

Letting your therapist know that you’ve terminated the relationship, however briefly, can also help ensure that they aren’t alarmed by your disappearance.

Low contact alternatives to ghosting your therapist

A brief email/text: “Hi NAME, I’m reaching out to let you know that I no longer wish to meet for therapy. I have made other arrangements and I feel supported moving forward. Please cancel any future appointments — thanks!”

A non-direct approach: If email doesn’t feel safe, you might cancel any future sessions in your online portal, or reach out to your therapist’s administrative assistant (if they have one) to request your appointments be canceled (if asked, you can say, “I won’t be needing any additional appointments moving forward, and I will call if that changes”).

Remember: You are not required to engage with a therapist who is harming you or making you uncomfortable.

In some cases, ghosting — or, ending the therapeutic relationship without any communication at all — may be the safest option for you.

If you have concerns that something unethical may be taking place, please consider reaching out to someone that you trust to talk through what's making you feel uneasy. You also have the right to report your therapist to their respective licensing board.

Your therapist may still email or call you, but please know that you aren’t required to answer if that doesn’t feel safe.

Final Tips for Therapy Break-Ups

  1. Be as honest as you can! This is a great opportunity to practice direct communication, self-advocacy, and authenticity. Name what you’re feeling, even if that’s discomfort or fear, and know that your therapist is there to hold everything with you.
  2. Trust that your therapist can manage their own feelings — you don’t need to sugarcoat your feelings, withhold any feedback, or try to reassure them. If you sense that your therapist is unable to support you, know you can end the conversation at any time.
  3. Ask for what you need! This can include a referral for another therapist, recommendations for new types of therapy to try, positive feedback about your progress, or guidance on what to do next.
  4. You can always change your mind or ask for support later on. Ending the relationship now doesn’t mean you can’t ask for their support later!
  5. Focus on what will support you, and know that a good therapist will celebrate your self-advocacy, even if that means your work together is coming to a close.

Get stories and resources like this in your inbox.

Sam Dylan Finch
Sam Dylan Finch

About the Author

For nearly a decade, Sam has harnessed the power of digital media to empower readers, challenge stigma, and make mental health content accessible to all. He currently works as Content Marketing Manager for Alma; he previously worked as Content Marketing Director at Oar Health, as well as at Inflow – ADHD, Healthline, Psych Central, and Upworthy.

More blog posts

A person lying in bed with their back against their wall, holding a coffee mug in one hand and a journal in the other, with their legs outstretched. They are surrounded by hanging plants, a nearby record player, and a mountain of pillows. They are staring in the direction of a window with a thoughtful expression.
A young woman looks up, hopefully, while walking through the neighborhood.
A light gray couch with ornate blue and yellow pillows, with a framed piece of art on the wall and a floral decoration on the left side.