Clients’ and counselors’ termination decisions and experiences in counseling

Pei shan Lee, Li fei Wang, Joshua K. Swift*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Little is known about the process by which clients and therapists make termination decisions. The purpose of this study was to explore clients’ and counselors’ termination decisions and experiences in counseling. Twelve clients and their counselors (N = 5) from five university counseling centers in Taiwan were interviewed about their termination experiences. Qualitative data from the interviews were analyzed. The results suggested four main types of termination – mutual, client-initiated, counselor-initiated, and forced termination. Clients in the mutual and client-initiated termination categories reported feeling ready to terminate counseling and felt that the termination process was positive. Their considerations for termination were largely based on perceived change and termination intentions over time. The participating counselors expressed both positive and negative feelings about termination. Their considerations for termination were based on their general termination beliefs, perceived client change, perceived client willingness to end, and other termination cues. Termination decisions are a multi-faceted process, with clients and therapists expressing overlapping, but different reasons for wanting to discontinue treatment. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3734-3744
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb


  • Client perspective
  • Counseling termination
  • Counselor perspective
  • Termination decisions
  • Termination process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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