Psychological treatments often face the challenge of premature termination, which sometimes decreases the chance of successful outcomes. In such situations, a therapist should be ready to deal with dropout attempts by convincing their customer to carry on through the treatment. However, on some occasions, a therapist can encounter an exact opposite situation — a customer willing to continue the treatment even though they do not need the service anymore. In that case, the therapist should always put the health and actual needs of the customer as a priority and avoid any possible harm.
Premature treatment dropouts depend on various factors — reaching the positive effect on early stages of treatment, customer’s age, or personal habits. For instance, the younger veterans of Israeli Defense Forces tended to refuse treatment from PTSD or drop out prematurely, while their older comrades proceeded through it (Levi et al., 2019). Younger patients can see psychological treatment as a sign of weakness, an inability to cope with their life problems independently, or be afraid of social stigmatizing. From their perspective, the treatment can be seen as a long, hard, or even intimidating process. Therefore, the most complicated treatment cases are often connected with younger patients, and they require a cautious approach from the therapist.
The delicacy of treating the younger patients can be used in hypothetical dealings with the customers who do not want to terminate their treatment. The therapist should praise the customer for their part in the treatment and bolster their confidence (Vidair et al., 2017). It would be wise to express hope in customer’s success after the treatment and maybe prepare a symbolic parting gift for them. The treatment termination process should be arranged as smoothly as possible; the therapist might even consider staying in contact with the customer to monitor their condition. Doing so will prevent the customer from feeling abandoned after the termination. However, the quality of care must always remain a priority, so the therapist should refrain from providing an excess treatment.
Levi, O., Lazarov, A., Bar-Haim, Y., Lubin, G., Wald, I. (2019). Predictors of consent to treatment and premature termination of treatment in a sample of veterans with military-related PTSD. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 207(4), 300–306. Web.
Vidair, H.B., Feyijinmi, G.O., & Feindler, E.L., (2017). Termination in cognitive–behavioral therapy with children, adolescents, and parents. Psychotherapy, 54(1), 15–21. Web.