When the journey together ends

Termination in psychotherapy with a focus on attachment

ARTICLELucas Vanderlinden - 61–3 (2023)


In the client-centered literature, the emphasis is on the different aspects of the relationship (relational, emotional, existential, etc.) in the task of termination in psychotherapy. Each therapist would do well to develop an understanding of the own motives for saying goodbye or avoiding it. This is to be as comfortable as possible when saying goodbye and not to disrupt the client’s process because of the therapist’s own needs. There appears to be more overlap than differences between the different theoretical orientations in the way they end therapy. The integrative CMRA-model tries to optimize termination with four different elements. This model can provide guidance for termination. For clients with attachment problems, the presence in the here-and-now, with sufficient attention to emotion regulation and termination ruptures, seems to be of great importance. A second model, as an adaptation of the phase model for resolving therapeutic alliance ruptures of Safran and Muran, could provide guidance to deepen the parting. Both models are illustrated with a case.


termination, therapeutic relationship, attachment, integrative models

The tPeP (Journal Person-centered experiential Psychotherapy) is the scientific journal for Dutch and Flemish psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, that work from, or are interested in a client-centered perspective.