Get access

Termination of psychotherapy: The journey of 10 psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapists


Dr Evangelia Fragkiadaki, DPsych., Chatzimichali Giannari 7, 71201, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (e-mail:


Objectives. Literature on termination originates mainly from clinical and theoretical accounts as well as practitioners’ autobiographical reports. There is, however, a paucity of psychological research on termination. The purpose of this study is to examine the process of termination of therapy based on therapists’ narratives of experiences of endings with patients.

Design. Grounded Theory methodology has been applied in this study in order to conceptualize the process of termination from the therapist's perspective.

Methods. Ten psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapists were interviewed for this study.

Results. Grounded Theory analysis of the data revealed five central categories: therapist as a person, therapist's awareness of termination, development of therapeutic relationship, working through termination, and the aftermath (post-termination phase).

Conclusions. The results offer a Grounded Theory model of the therapist's journey through termination of therapy with patients. Subcategories and their relationships will be explored. Implications for clinical practice, limitations and suggestions for further research will be discussed.