How to take a break with a therapist without it being a final end?

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I need to take a temporary vacation from my current therapist. It’s simply not working and the harder I try to resolve or endure it, the worse it’s getting.

I don’t want to quit. I want a break until I’m in a place where her skill set would be useful. She’s good at processing trauma. Everything else? Not so much. It’s just not working.

I can’t process trauma right now. I don’t want her help finding other care (she is expensive and I can’t afford to pay her for what I can do for myself.)

So I need to stop with her until I’m stabilized so I can focus on other ways to be stable than really unhelpful sessions with her.

How do I tell her this? She wants me in more treatment, which is fine, but regardless of doing that or not, I can’t keep doing this with her right now.


Can you tell her this? Being able to tell our T something like this is very empowering. Regardless if we feel we are going to throw up or freak out, it's important, because it's how YOU feel and think. That is what matters. How YOU feel and think.

Give yourself a lot of credit for knowing what you need and don't need. That is huge.

Hope this works out as you need it to.


Ditto that @ladee - I think taking a break is a good thing and if you're ready to do so, any good therapist would absolutely accept that you want change. When I broke with mine this summer, I made sure she knew how so very much what she was able to do with me has helped in this recovery process and we even catch up via quick email now and again. I'm sure your therapist will support and encourage you to explore.


We have taken the break from trauma work and tried to work on the rest. It’s going badly. Trauma work goes very well. The rest is a disaster putting the relationship itself at risk. I figure if we stop now until I can go back to what she is good at, it gives me he best chance of doing it.
Are you positive it's not going well? Are you sure she is not helping at all and you are better going it alone?

I ask this because sometimes we are not the best judge of what is really going on, and another viewpoint - particularly from your T, might be quite valuable. Ultimately though you want to preserve the relationship so you must talk.

You mention she wants you to have even more support. Have you discussed this with her and maybe it may lead into how you feel about therapy right now.


Aren't you maybe projecting your grief process like it's "her fault" or the relationship's fault and not the trauma itself?
You haven't been alright for a while, which is natural in trauma therapy. But remembering previous stuff you said she does, I don't think she's bad at giving you coping and empowering tools to manage.

Not really sure if you just want the pain to stop. Since it's trauma work that's causing the pain, the immediate reaction would be to stop trauma work instead of working around it, I get it.

A break is a good choice if you're really not coping and need to just STOP. It's entirely our right to know when we need to just stop.
I'm just trying to maybe question if you can't tell her instead: I'm not coping, this isn't good for me right now, we need to change something here. And work with her in getting stronger again.

I did that instead of quitting and it was a massive stepping stone to be symptom free and be able to look at trauma in a different light.

Just a though, JMH, you don't need to listen to me :hug:


It’s a tough call - lots of great points by others.

My first thought was what does “more treatment” look like to her and to you? My psydoc sessions are heavy going on every freaking level. The formal things that are helping me outside of that are Equine T (every 2-4 weeks) and TS yoga (on my own 4-5 days/week and a weekly class during term). So I guess what I’m saying is other treatments can be stuff that gets you moving. My equine T steps very slowly in the talking/relationship department. It certainly sucks badly when you’re trying to tease stuff out.

Informally gardening and dog training are unbelievable.


Yes, it is going badly. She agrees it is going badly. We have already stopped doing all trauma work for some time. I can’t think of anything to even talk about anymore with her. We sit in silence A LOT. She has stated she doesn’t know what to talk about.

I have left every session frustrated for the past 6 weeks. I have talked to her about the problems. We get nowhere. I’m not willing to keep spending this amount of money on sessions that do not involve any trauma work on trauma and yet still leaving me feeling this badly.

I need to take a break. I’m not sure how to approach this with her. I’m concerned that she will just quit if I take even 1-4 weeks off.

The thought of getting more professional therapeutic support just about undoes me. I have tried a few intakes the past month, and it isn’t working out financially or otherwise. I tried to get inpatient care and that massively backfired. They refused to do even a psych eval. My doctor wants to file a complaint herself against the hospital and I’m just too tired. I’m beginning to really dislike the mental health care profession as a whole and I think maybe a break can help me reset my thinking.
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