Clients' feelings during termination of psychodynamically oriented psychotherapy

David Roe, Rachel Dekel, Galit Harel, Shmuel Fennig, Silvana Fennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the termination stage of psychotherapy is known to evoke powerful feelings, it has rarely been the subject of systematic investigation, and its relation to other aspects of therapy has not been evaluated. In the present study, we explored clients' feelings during termination of psychodynamically oriented psychotherapy and examined how these feelings are related to satisfaction with psychotherapy. Eighty-four persons who had been seen in private-practice psychodynamically oriented psychotherapy were assessed using open-ended questions and rating scales focusing on their feelings during termination. Results of the current study indicate that clients experience a wide range of feelings, many positive, during the termination phase of therapy. Factors that contributed to positive feelings were the experience of termination as a practice of independence, a reflection of positive aspects of the therapeutic relationship, and positive gains experienced in therapy. Loss of a meaningful relationship was the most frequently mentioned factor contributing to negative feelings during termination. Longer treatment was related positively to positive feelings toward termination and satisfaction with termination. The importance of incorporating the positive feelings about termination into the ending phase of therapy and its management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-81
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of the Menninger Clinic
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


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