Wellness·6 min read

Exactly What to Say to Break Up With Your Therapist

"Ending Therapy" Script, featuring an unimpressed woman sitting in therapy
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
November 14, 2023

Putting something on your to-do list isn't enough to get it done. Because you don’t always know where to start or the steps you need to take. Skimm Scripts gives you the words, spreadsheets, or templates you need to get things off your to-do list...and get on with your life.

Whether you’re ready to “graduate” from therapy or you’re seeing some red flags in your therapist, sometimes it’s necessary to end the relationship. But it’s not always an easy conversation to have. That’s where Monica Amorosi, licensed psychotherapist, comes in. She explains how to have “the talk” with your therapist — and offers scripts to get you started. Get your screenshotting fingers ready.

Featured Expert:

Monica Amorosi

Monica Amorosi - Monica Amorosi, LMHC, CCTP, NCC, is a licensed psychotherapist at Clarity Therapy NYC.

How to break up with a therapist

The best way to break up with a therapist is the way that works for you. “You are allowed to break up with the therapist any time, any way, at any moment, because they are a provider you are paying for,” says Amorosi. But unless your boundaries have been crossed or you feel unsafe, try to address your therapist directly instead of ghosting, says Amorosi. 

Just like any breakup, a face-to-face conversation is ideal. Have it at the beginning of your last session, or during a session scheduled specifically for the talk. This also allows your therapist a chance to course-correct, if you’re open to that. Start the conversation by saying, “Today, I’d like to talk about a decision I’ve made about therapy.” 

If face-to-face is too uncomfortable, email and text are also fine (keep your eyes peeled for a copy-and-paste email template below). You may not feel comfortable explaining your “why” or don’t want to pay another session fee. 

Here's what to say if...

You don’t need therapy anymore

“If your goals have been met, if you feel like you have better control over your symptoms … that's a really great time to step away from your therapist,” says Amorosi. 

Try saying: I feel like I've met all my goals. I'm feeling better about my capacity to soothe myself. I don't think I need to come as much.

Or: I come in each session and I don't really have as much to talk about. 

You need different availability options 

Try saying: I don’t have availability during your schedule, so I need a therapist who can meet me when I'm able to.

You need someone who specializes in a certain condition or issue 

“You are the expert in your lived experience,” says Amorosi. So if your therapist doesn’t seem equipped to help you, you can say that. “It offers an opportunity for your therapist to help connect you with a provider, or to share their own credentials and training.”

Try saying:  I am struggling with [INSERT ISSUE], so I really want to work with someone who specializes or is trained in it.

Your therapist doesn’t share or understand a part of your identity 

Try saying: I would feel more comfortable with a therapist who can better relate to my life experiences and identity. 

This therapist just isn’t the right fit for you

Try saying: I want to explore some other options for therapists. I feel like we don’t really connect on [INSERT CONCERN].

Or: Therapy isn’t feeling how I hoped it would, so I want to see what else is out there.

Your financial situation has changed

Try saying: I can’t afford sessions right now. Do you offer a sliding scale? Otherwise, I will have to pause therapy for a while. 

Worth noting that they may offer reduced fees or other financial support tools, says Amorosi. If they don’t, let them know you’ll need to find someone in your price range.

You want to take a break and come back to sessions in the future 

Try saying: I want to take a break from therapy, but I would like to be able to come back if I need to be seen again. 

You are experiencing transference, or it’s hard to see your therapist as just your therapist. 

Amorosi explains that projecting certain feelings onto them — whether it’s love, anger, or something in between — can get in the way of treatment. “You shouldn’t be thinking about your therapist more than the issues you are working on.”

Try saying: Having you as my therapist is really hard for me, and I think I would be better with someone else. 

Your therapist harmed you in some way 

“Difficult feelings in therapy aren’t always a bad thing. But sometimes therapists can really hurt people,” says Amorosi. That might look like negative influence, abuse, or being offensive. 

Try saying: You did something in our treatment that I can’t move past, so I can’t continue working with you. 

Depending on the severity of their actions, you can report the therapist to their state boards, insurance carrier, or practice, she says. This is one instance where it’s okay to stop sessions with the therapist without a conversation, “unless it feels safe enough [to].”

You need a higher level of care. 

Try saying: I am feeling worse, and I need more than we are doing to get better. 

If you need a higher level of treatment, such as hospital care, your therapist may be able to help you find it. 

How to break up with a therapist email template


I hope you are doing well. I'm writing to you because I have decided to end my sessions. [INSERT SCRIPT FROM ABOVE THAT FIT YOUR SCENARIO.] 

I appreciate your help and wish you the best.




Breaking up is hard to do. Even with your therapist. But doing what’s right for you comes before any momentary discomfort or concerns of your therapist’s feelings. You and your mental health will be better off for it. 

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute a medical opinion, medical advice, or diagnosis or treatment of any particular condition. 

Subscribe to Skimm Well

Sign up here to receive our wellness newsletter filled with actionable advice, expert-vetted content, product recs, and more — delivered directly to your inbox.