Client and therapist reasons for termination: A conceptualization and preliminary validation



Publication Details

Todd, D., Deane, F. P. & Bragdon, R. (2003). Client and therapist reasons for termination: A conceptualization and preliminary validation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59 (1), 133-147.


While the comparison of client and therapist reasons for termination might shed light on their respective views of outcome and process, only one published study has examined directly the reasons given by therapist-client pairs. One barrier to such research is the absence of a systematic conceptualization of reasons for termination that incorporates both therapist and client perspectives. This article describes a comprehensive conceptualization, drawn from the existing literature, and applies a coding system based on that conceptualization to naturalistic clinical data from 123 therapist-client pairs in a psychology training clinic. Coders were able to categorize reliably open-ended client data into reasons for termination. For therapist and client data, the relationships between coding categories and participants' outcome ratings, generally were consistent with expectations, providing limited validation. Some support was found for concordance between therapist and client reasons, especially for those related to therapist or client departures, which were prominent in this setting. As expected, however, therapists were more likely than clients to endorse success as a reason for termination. Negative client feelings about therapy, including dissatisfaction, were reported infrequently as reasons for termination, and with little agreement between clients and therapists, but this may be due to methodological limitations.



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