Steps to ethical termination of counseling relationship

Counselors form a therapeutic relationship with clients. However, the counseling must ultimately be terminated. In fact, the counselor should schedule and plan termination. However, there are critical steps that are ethically recommended for a successful termination of the developed relationship. The steps are as follows;

  • Preparing for termination from the commencement of the counseling service

As a counselor, it is important to discuss with the client the number of sessions to be covered and the mutually agreed on date of termination. This is important as it make the patient aware that the relationship will eventually break upon termination.

  • Providing professional referrals is the next important step in case further treatment is necessary.

Termination requires taking the patient through the transition period. The emotional connection so far developed takes time on the client to disengage. It would therefore be important to refer the client to another professional to help in transition towards termination.

  • I will conduct a final session on face-to-face basis.

Using texts, email, or voicemail to convey the message of termination is unethical, unprofessional and less effective in emphasizing spirit of care .As such, I will initiate physical meeting to remind the clients that termination is eminent.

  • Making sure that the client is vividly and cleared made aware of the reason, time, and method of termination. This will be followed by documentation of the therapeutic termination.
  • Making sure the termination is expressed in a letter addressed to the patient. This step is critical to avoid possible legal battles between the patient and myself in future.


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