Or let’s rephrase this sentence. Will there ever be a point we feel recovered and strong enough to stop therapy? We enter therapy seeking solace, healing, and understanding, but sometimes, the journey seems endless.
This is the question I am actually asking myself right now. In Germany, if you do not stop therapy for whatever reason, there will be a maximum number of hours you are allowed to take. After that point you are normally forced to take a break up to two years. There are some options and loopholes to skip the waiting time. But that doesn’t change the fact, that you will have to find a new therapist, a new person you have to build a relationship with, to tell your whole story again, to trust again and feel comfortable again. This is hard because every therapist is different and they have a different approach, as they are also just human beings.
I am exactly at that point now. I maxed out the number of therapy hours. Ending a therapy is like ending a relationship. Well, it is basically ending a relationship, the one to your therapist. We all have different “selfs”. The one we show our closed ones, the one no one knows (our truest self) and the one we show the rest of the outside world. And, at least for me, the last one is the one to your therapist, life coach or however you will call it. This one relationship, for me, is something weirdly in between. This kind of relationship is, at least for me, the most triggering, but also healing and learning, evolving, intense relationship I ever had. No one else does know my inner world better than him. It is a relationship that knows (mostly) no shame in opening up. In the beginning, for sure, it feels different and it was hard to open up, but I always told myself that he does get paid to listen to my inner bullshit so I better use the time wisely and after a while it felt very natural to spit out my (mostly) unfiltered inner world. Even though I have to admit, there were topics I have not talked about and I felt no need to do so. Also this relationship has boundaries and that´s ok.
Ending therapy is ending a relationship that taught me so much about relationships. About relationships to others and to myself. There were times I wanted to just run out of this stupid therapy room as I felt so misunderstood. There were times I screamed and times I couldn’t breathe anymore as I was in a high panic mode and there were times, I actually felt very understood and not judged. Over the course of time there were situations that made me want to quit, but at the end of the day, I never did and I am so happy about it. I stayed, I solved the conflicts and I grew. We worked through all the ups and downs a relationship has to offer. I learned setting boundaries does not mean the end of a relationship (at least in most relationships), I learned to forgive and even if I am wrong, my counterpart does not give up on me and will still be there. I learned about other people’s boundaries and how to accept them, about letting go and about change. But I think the most important thing I learned is, that even with all the craziness, the ups and downs, my insecurities, my needs and my fears, I am good enough. There will always be people that dislike you, judge you, criticize you look down to you and try to make you feel small. There are people that blame you for their insecurities, feelings and inadequacies. But that doesn´t mean that it has anything to do with you, that you have no worth or you are not lovable. There will always be people that will dismiss you and that’s fine. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and oh gosh thank God it´s that way. In the end the people that are good for you will gravitate towards you and they will stay through the ups and downs. And the rest will naturally gravitate out of your life. You lose them over the course of time. Some of them leave in a loud and hurtful way and some of them very quietly. And that’s fine. That’s part of the game, of changes and relationships. It doesn’t matter for whatever reason they do it. It doesn’t matter, because that does not change a bit of how important you are for the right people. The right people will always stay and work through hard times with you. The right people give you a feeling of calmness, you feel good around them and you feel good after meeting them. They energize you and don´t leave you in doubt. They forgive and they help. These relationships wills overcome the hard times and will be there after. And that’s so important. And these will, besides the relationship you have to your therapist, be the ones that are there in for the long run. For after therapy.
My greatest fears after finishing are, that I can´t handle life and certain situations on my own and that I can´t talk about certain topics after my therapist is gone. That all the developments and changes will be gone within a short period of time and that I am back to where I started. That’s fucking scary but it’s also bullshit and irrational. None of the progress will be gone. There will be fallbacks and insecurities but there was also so much healing over the years. I changed; my inner world changed. And nothing will take that away from me. And even if one important relationship is gone, there will be others, maybe different ones. There will be no loneliness. And maybe exactly the end of one important relationship gives you the chance to show this very deep, crazy inner world a bit more to your close friends. We get to chose what we are sharing and who we give access to our inner world and how close we let people in. Maybe exactly this point is a chance to reevaluate our relationships and who are we trusting.
There might never be a time we feel like we had “enough”. But it´s like with everything else in life, we will never feel ready, we just have dive in and go from there. But what I know for sure, the end of a therapy doesn't mean the end of your growth or healing journey. It's a transition, a stepping stone towards a brighter, healthier, and more empowered you. Whether you continue your therapeutic journey in a different way or decide to say goodbye or open up to someone else, it's a testament to your strength and commitment to your own well-being.