Case Termination Guide

Social workers should evaluate a clientele’s ongoing treatment before instituting termination proceedings. According to Barnett (2016), termination is defined as the conclusion of a social worker-clientele process of intervention; a systematic approach for disengaging the working relations. Termination happens when objectives are achieved when the specified working duration has ended, or clients are no longer intent on continuing.  Termination frequently entails assessing the development towards achieving the goals, functioning through resistance, renunciation, and flight into illness. The termination stage also entails deliberations concerning how to forestall and solve future glitches and how to discover extra resources to implore as future needs specify.

Termination Guide

How termination can be viewed is both an irrefutable and ethical subject. These two concerns are entwined and should be considered to be vital for meeting the clients’ obligations. There are numerous causes for the culmination of treatment. A clientele may conclude at any duration for some reason. Ideally, termination happens once clientele and psychotherapist approve that the treatment objectives have either been achieved, satisfactory development has been completed, or the customer improves and does not the services.  Therefore, it is essential to follow a set of guidelines when terminating a client-therapist relationship.

Foremost, both parties should arrive on an agreement on the treatment objectives and the criteria for positive conclusion of treatment. The conclusion of every customer’s therapy shall optimistically happen when every treatment goal has been accomplished. However, to know when treatment can culminate, there should be a pact on the treatment goals. Treatment aims can be adjusted over the treatment course as clienteles make development and life circumstances changes (O’Donohue & Cucciare, 2010).  Failing to have candid discussions on objectives from the onset and failing to arrive at an agreement affects the emphasis and scope of the treatment. Social workers ought to draw services impulsively only under uncommon conditions. Moreover, presenting careful deliberation to every factor in the situations and to minimalize probable hostile impacts. Social workers ought to assist in making suitable preparations for the continuation of services when necessary.

Secondly, be distinctive on what abandonment is—for instance, the client’s role in discontinuing treatment.  Abandonment happens when the therapist fails to meet the needs of the client appropriately. Abandonment can happen when treatment conclusions are mishandled and when clienteles’ ongoing treatment requirements are not sufficiently tackled. The latter can comprise of failing to make necessary treatment preparations throughout stages of expected nonappearance. For instance, during a vacation, attendance of a meeting, or other periods when clientele accessibility to the therapist can be restricted. Charges of abandonment can, in most cases, result from not being adequately available between commonly planned treatment meetings. Fundamentally, realistic prospects are recognized from the onset (Simmons Staff, 2016). Clients should be presented with data on accessing the therapist between periods when it is proper to contact the therapist, and the desired contact mode. Genuine prospects should be instituted for the therapist’s receptiveness and when others should be called upon—for instance, calling 911 in situations of crisis. When sustained treatment is not conceivable or not specified founded on client activities and reactions, the conclusion of therapy is not viewed as abandonment. Certainly, documenting every situation, deliberations, consultations with colleagues, and attempts to interact with clients, ought to happen on an ongoing basis.

The next aspect involves engaging in continuing discussions with clienteles about treatment progress towards dissolution. It is important to plan and prepare for dissolution. If conceivable, treatment conclusions shall not be viewed as a bombshell. It is essential to work collaboratively with clienteles towards effective treatment culminations. Terminations should be considered to be in a process and not an occurrence (Estabrook Roberts & Gabbard, 2010). It ought to be viewed as a stage of every clientele’s treatment controlled toward together on an ongoing basis. Termination must be hypothesized as a consolidation treatment stage that assists in preparing the clientele to build on the advances made in treatment and advancing confidently. This significant treatment phase can be hypothesized from various viewpoints, and it may fuel several vital subjects that are imperative to tackle before treatment ends. After the commencement of a therapeutic relationship with a clientele, a social worker should not terminate treatment unexpectedly. If the social worker does not appropriately dismiss the client-therapist relation, the social worker gets exposed to allegations that may lead to lawsuits.

Self-care Strategies


Addressing termination of treatment is an important stage of the healing procedure. For dissolution to be managed appropriately, deliberations between the social worker and clientele shall occur earlier and be tackled in a considerate and thoughtful way. Social workers ought to incorporate sensible steps to elude abandoning clients that require services. It is paramount that clienteles not feel forsaken for the client’s and social worker’s well-being.  If sustained treatment is needed, the social worker should help the clientele gain continuing services to guarantee that these requirements are sufficiently tackled. Appropriate citation of the conclusion of the beneficial affiliation with the clientele will offer to back for the social workers’ attempts to meet the clients’ needs as the treatment concludes.




Barnett, J. E. (2016, October). 6 strategies for ethical termination of psychotherapy: To avoid abandonment. [Web article]. Retrieved from:

Estabrook, K., Roberts, L. W., & Gabbard, G. O. (2010). Ethics commentary: ethics in psychotherapy. Focus8(1), 44-47.

O’Donohue, W. T., & Cucciare, M. (Eds.). (, 2010). Terminating psychotherapy: A clinician’s guide. Routledge.

Simmons Staff. (2016, December 22). Why Self-Care Is Vital For Social Service Professionals. Retrieved from

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