Client and therapist views of contextual factors related to termination from psychotherapy: a comparison between unilateral and mutual terminators.

Research paper by Robin R Westmacott, John J Hunsley, Marlene M Best, Orly O Rumstein-McKean, Dwayne D Schindler

Indexed on: 19 Jun '10Published on: 19 Jun '10Published in: Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research


Contextual variables potentially influencing premature termination were examined. Clients (n=83) and therapists (n=35) provided parallel data on early working alliance, psychotherapy termination decision (unilateral vs. mutual), clients' reasons for termination, and barriers to treatment participation. When clients unilaterally ended therapy, therapists were only partially aware of either the extent of clients' perceived improvements or their dissatisfaction. When termination was mutually determined, there were no differences between client and therapist ratings of termination reasons. Although working alliance and barriers to treatment participation were rated as lower in the context of unilateral termination by clients and therapists, all clients rated the early alliance and barriers to treatment more highly than did therapists. Results have implications for understanding premature termination and suggest future research examining the utility of therapist feedback regarding contextual variables in terms of retaining clients in therapy.