AdviceHey, Bonita!

How Do I Break Up With My Therapist?


How do I break up with my therapist? Background: Her private-practice clients can only be scheduled when she’s not at her full-time therapist job, which I’m not eligible for. This means that I use my precious lunch break to meet with her via Zoom. If a lunchtime meeting isn’t possible, then the proposed alternate meeting times are wild, like 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Not only is the schedule not great, she has had to reschedule with me at the last minute on three occasions. I know that emergencies come up, and one instance was such, but in the past she’s texted in the very early morning to reschedule our lunchtime meeting because she was traveling, for example. I assume she’d known in advance about this, like most people when they travel. When the rescheduled meeting was finally about to happen, she texted me two minutes before our scheduled start to let me know about technical problems that were making her late. After 15 more minutes, she proposed that we reschedule. AGAIN.

Am I being unreasonable in feeling fed up and wanting to just stop seeing her? In all honesty, I haven’t felt like we were a great match for some time due to our age difference and my feeling that she’s “not on my side” (if that makes sense). I feel like we haven’t been able to really get into the groove, and we’ve been meeting for six months at this point. Additionally, the one time I scheduled at 7 a.m. on the weekend, I ended up oversleeping and was charged a no-show fee. I wish that something like that existed for clients⁠—isn’t our time meaningful too?

So anyways, I think I’m done. How do I go about this? I’m intimidated by her, plus I know that losing clients is losing money. I hate that taking care of myself leaves me having to think about contributing to the loss of a person’s livelihood.

Thanks for your help,

The (Over)Thinker

Hey there TOT,

First off, you have no reason to feel intimidated by this person. You are a client paying for a service, and that actually means that you are the one with the power. You are the one paying her and making time for her, and that means that it is your absolute right to end your client relationship whenever you want⁠—especially when she’s so disorganized and disrespectful to you as a client. This person sounds new to maintaining a client base and running her own business, but being new doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate bad business practices. This person may be a good therapist to her other clients, but she’s not to you, and that’s all that matters here. She owes you good service in exchange for your money, and she’s not giving that to you.

I’ve dumped a therapist before. I was going through a serious depressive episode, and she was highly recommended but also completely out of my price range, since I was unemployed at the time. By the end of that session, I knew that we were not a match, and I contacted her later that week to let her know that I wouldn’t be coming back. Easy-peasy, but I can see that while you’re definitely unhappy with the quality of your therapist’s service, you’ve developed a rapport with this person that makes you hesitant to end the professional relationship. Well, I want to assure you that therapists and other healthcare professionals lose patients all the time, and you definitely would not be the first person to leave her practice. You don’t owe her an explanation for your departure, so don’t feel like you have to tell her how terrible she is when you cancel your future appointments. You can literally just thank her for her time and let her know that you’re moving on from her practice, and you can politely refuse any prying questions she might ask. But I doubt that’ll be the case, because most messy people who lose a client or an employee already kind of know why, and they don’t want to hear about themselves.  

Do not pay for a service that does not meet your needs or causes you stress and anxiety.

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