7 Reasons Why People Stop Attending Therapy (And How to Stay Motivated)

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Published Date|
July 6, 2024

7 Reasons Why People Stop Attending Therapy (And How to Stay Motivated)

It’s easy to lose interest in therapy as time goes by. Maybe life got too busy, or perhaps you just didn't feel like it was helping anymore. 

You're not alone—lots of people face the same struggle. You may have started therapy with the best intentions, only to find decreased motivation over time. Maybe you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, or other things are taking up all your time and energy. It’s also possible that your goals or needs have shifted, and the approach that worked before doesn’t feel as relevant now. However, understanding that these ups and downs are part of the process can help you stay on track and find your way back to feeling motivated.

At KMA Therapy, we've seen it all, and we're here to help. Our guide not only breaks down 7 most common reasons people leave therapy but also provides motivational tips to keep you on track. 

Whether you're struggling with maintaining consistency, facing financial constraints, or simply feeling unmotivated, we’ve got you covered with advice to keep you engaged and committed to your mental health. 

7 Reasons Why People Stop Attending Therapy (And How to Stay Motivated)

Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy

Are there specific reasons more prone to discontinuing therapy?

Yes, certain demographics, such as younger individuals and men, may be more prone to discontinuing therapy.

Why is therapy not helping me?

Therapy may not have helped for several reasons, such as a mismatch with the therapist, not feeling ready to engage, or needing a different approach or type of therapy.

Is it normal to not want to go to therapy?

It's normal to feel hesitant about therapy. Many people struggle with the idea of discussing personal issues or may fear the unknown aspects of therapy.

When does therapy feel like a chore?

When therapy feels like a chore, it could indicate that the current approach or therapist isn't the right fit. It's essential to communicate this feeling with your therapist to explore adjustments that can make therapy more beneficial and engaging for you.

How can I manage scheduling conflicts with therapy appointments? 

Communicate with your therapist about your availability and look for flexible scheduling options. Some therapists offer evening or weekend appointments or virtual sessions.

Is it normal to feel worse before feeling better in therapy? 

Yes, it’s common to experience heightened emotions as you address deep-seated issues. This is often a sign that you’re making progress. Discuss these feelings with your therapist to navigate them effectively.

7 Reasons Why People Leave Therapy

Reason #1: You Started to Feel Better😃

Over a few months, with the support and guidance of your therapist, you begin to see significant improvements in your mood and overall outlook on life

Your anxiety might decrease, or your depressive episodes become less frequent. You start to feel more like your old self, which can lead you to believe that you’re “cured” and no longer need therapy. This sense of relief and progress can make it tempting to stop attending sessions. 

Reason #2: Cost 💵

Therapy can be expensive, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover it or you have a high copay. The financial burden can add up quickly, making it difficult to justify the expense. For instance, you might be paying out-of-pocket for each session, which can significantly impact your budget. This financial strain is one of the common reasons people quit therapy, even if they find it helpful. 

Additionally, some people might need therapy for an extended period, which can make the cumulative cost feel even more daunting. There are options for more affordable therapy, such as sliding scale fees or community mental health services, but finding these options can be challenging.

Reasons #3: Having a Stigma 😥

Despite growing awareness and acceptance of mental health issues, there’s still a stigma attached to seeking therapy. Some people feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeing a therapist. They might worry about what friends, family, or coworkers will think if they find out. This fear of judgment can be one of the powerful reasons people quit therapy, even if it’s genuinely helping them. 

The pressure to appear "normal" or "strong" can overshadow the benefits of continuing therapy. For some, the fear of being perceived as weak or incapable can be a significant barrier. 

Reason #4: Time Commitment ⏳

Life is busy, and finding time for therapy can be challenging. Setting aside an hour weekly for a therapy session might seem impossible between work, family, and other commitments. You might start skipping sessions because you can’t fit them into your hectic schedule

Over time, these missed appointments can become a habit, eventually leading you to stop going altogether. The demands of daily life can make it hard to prioritise therapy, even when you know it’s important for your well-being. Additionally, therapy often involves more than just the session itself. Homework assignments or exercises might require time and effort outside of the session. This additional commitment can be a deterrent for some.

Reason #5: Not Connecting with the Therapist 🙅

A good therapist-client relationship is crucial for successful therapy. If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist or think they don’t understand you, therapy can feel ineffective. You might feel like you’re just talking to a stranger who doesn’t get what you’re going through. 

This lack of connection is one of the reasons why people quit therapy. Finding the right therapist can be a trial-and-error process; sometimes, people give up before finding a good match. It’s important to remember that switching therapists is okay if you’re not feeling a connection. The therapeutic alliance, or the bond between therapist and client, is one of the strongest predictors of positive outcomes in therapy.

Reason #6: Lack of Immediate Results 🧐

Therapy is a process that takes time, and it’s not uncommon for people to expect quick fixes. If you go to therapy for a few sessions and don’t see immediate changes, you might get frustrated and decide it’s not worth it. 

This impatience can be one of the reasons why people leave therapy. It's important to remember that therapy often involves gradual progress and that significant changes might take time to manifest. 

However, the slow pace can be discouraging, causing some people to give up. Some therapeutic approaches, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), involve learning new skills and ways of thinking, which can take practice and time to become effective. Understanding and setting realistic expectations for the therapy process can help mitigate this frustration.

Reason #7: Facing Difficult Emotions 😓

Therapy often involves delving into painful memories and difficult emotions. This process can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. You might start therapy hoping for relief but find that discussing certain topics brings up feelings you’d rather avoid. This discomfort can be a major deterrent, leading you to stop attending sessions. 

Confronting these emotions is crucial to healing, but pushing through the initial discomfort can be tough. Some people choose to quit therapy to avoid dealing with these difficult feelings, even though working through them could ultimately be beneficial. 

It’s important to have a supportive therapist who can guide you through these challenging emotions at a safe pace. So, if you’re searching for one, you can trust our KMA Therapy experts. We understand the importance of personalised care and a compassionate approach. Our team of experienced therapists is dedicated to helping you navigate your emotions and achieve mental well-being. 

How to Stay Motivated in Therapy?

Therapy is a journey that can have its ups and downs, but staying motivated can make a world of difference in your progress. Here are some tips that will help you stay on track:

Tip #1: Set Clear Goals 🤝

Why: Having clear goals gives you a sense of purpose and direction in therapy. It helps you and your therapist focus on what you want to achieve.

How: Start by identifying what you hope to accomplish through therapy. It could be managing anxiety better, improving communication in relationships, or understanding past experiences. Write down your goals and discuss them with your therapist. Break them into smaller, achievable steps to track your progress over time.

Tip #2: Celebrate Small Wins 🎁

Why: Recognizing and celebrating your progress, no matter how small, boosts your motivation and reinforces positive changes.

How: Keep a journal or a progress log where you can document moments of growth or insights gained during therapy sessions. For example, if you face a fear you've been avoiding or have a productive conversation with someone, note it down. Acknowledge these achievements by treating yourself to something special, sharing your success with supportive friends or family, or simply feeling proud.

Tip #3: Stay Open and Honest 🗣

Why: Therapy is most effective when you’re honest about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Your therapist relies on your openness to guide you toward meaningful insights and progress.

How: Trust your therapist as a confidant and expert guide. If something isn’t working or you’re unsure about the direction of your sessions, speak up. Share both your successes and struggles openly. This transparency helps your therapist tailor their approach to meet your needs best, ensuring that each session is productive and beneficial.

Tip #4: Build a Support System 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Why: Having a supportive network can provide encouragement, understanding, and validation throughout your therapy journey.

How: Share your therapy experience with trusted friends, family members, or peers who can offer emotional support and encouragement. They can celebrate your progress with you, provide perspective on your growth, and offer a listening ear when you need to talk through challenges. Knowing that you have people in your corner can boost your confidence and motivation to continue your therapeutic work.

Tip #5: Schedule Consistently ⏱

Why: Consistency is key to maintaining momentum in therapy. Regular sessions help you stay committed to the process and allow for continuity in your progress.

How: Treat your therapy appointments as non-negotiable commitments. Schedule sessions at times that work best for you, and keep the same day and time each week. This routine makes it easier to prioritise therapy amidst other responsibilities and ensures you receive ongoing support and guidance from your therapist.

Are you seeking a supportive therapist in Toronto who can offer regular appointments? At KMA Therapy, we're dedicated to helping you achieve your best through personalised counselling sessions. We schedule regular appointments that fit seamlessly into your life. 

Tip #6: Practice Self-Care 💆🏻‍♀️

Why: Taking care of your overall well-being outside of therapy supports your mental and emotional health, making you more receptive to therapeutic insights and strategies.

How: Incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine. This can include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining a balanced diet
  • Spending time in nature
  • Engaging in hobbies you enjoy
  • Setting aside quiet time for relaxation and reflection 

Prioritising self-care helps you manage stress, maintain resilience, and sustain the energy and focus needed for productive therapy sessions.

Tip #7: Reflect on Your Progress 🥳

Why: Reflecting on how far you’ve come can reinforce your motivation and sense of accomplishment, even during challenging times.

How: Take time to review your therapy goals, journal entries, or progress notes regularly. Notice any changes in your thoughts, emotions, or behaviours since starting therapy. Celebrate milestones and breakthroughs, no matter how small, and recognise the effort and courage it takes to pursue personal growth through therapy. Reflecting on your progress reminds you of therapy's positive impact on your life and encourages you to continue investing in your well-being.

Tip #8: Stay Curious 🤓

Why: Maintaining a curious and open-minded attitude enhances your therapy engagement and encourages exploring new perspectives and possibilities.

How: Approach each therapy session with curiosity and a willingness to explore unfamiliar topics or emotions. Ask questions, seek clarification, and express interest in learning more about yourself and your experiences. Be open to trying different therapeutic techniques or strategies recommended by your therapist. 

Stay Motivated, Committed to Therapy & Embrace a Healthy Life!

Therapy can be tough to stick with sometimes. Whether it's the cost, feeling like you're not making progress fast enough, or just life getting in the way, these are common roadblocks. But remember, staying committed to therapy is worth it. By recognising these challenges and finding ways to stay motivated—you can keep moving forward in your journey. Therapy isn't always easy, but persistence and the right mindset can make a big difference in your life.

Curious about how therapy could work for you? Whether you're facing stress, relationship issues, or simply need someone to talk to, KMA Therapy offers personalised support tailored to your needs. Contact us today to find out how our experienced therapists can assist you in achieving your goals. Start your journey to better mental health today!

Author |
Furqan Javed
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