In this module, you will learn about the process of terminating the counseling relationship. When any relationship ends, including a counseling relationship, there are many emotions that those individuals involved in the relationship may experience. The Termination Stage is the final stage of counseling, but is just as important as the initial phase of counseling. How you close your counseling relationship can have a significant impact on your client's view of his or her experience in counseling and the likelihood of their practicing what has been learned in counseling after sessions have concluded.

As Masters students, you will participate in Practicum and Internship placements that will provide you with the opportunity to establish, cultivate and terminate effective counseling relationships with many individuals. Termination of these relationships often proves to be one of the more difficult aspects of training for students because the duration of your relationship with clients is determined more by the timing of your academic semester than by the needs of the client and the achievement of mutually determined goals. Termination is often required before you or the client feel ready (forced-termination). This somewhat artificial aspect that is inherent in the training process can lead to a myriad of emotions for both counselor and client that must be acknowledged and worked through by both individuals.

**In some cases, the "end" of counseling is not always the end, and follow-up is deemed appropriate by the counselor and client to serve as a check to see if change has been maintained and to allow for clients to revisit old issues or work on new issues at a later date. For the purpose of this module, it is assumed that follow-up is not an option for counselors-in-training who are participating in temporary counseling placements.


Below, you will find information that is essential to your understanding of the topic of termination.


In this section of the module, you will learn practical information that is applicable to your own practice as a counselor.


  • ACA Code of Ethics: Termination and Referral (A.11.)

Textbooks Cited
Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy by Gerald Corey. 2001.
Becoming A Helper by Marianne Schneider Corey and Gerald Corey. 1998.
Practice Issues for the Beginning Counselor by Harold Hackney. 2000.
The World of the Counselor: An Introduction to the Counseling Profession by Ed
Neukrug. 1999.
Ethnicity & Family Therapy, 2e, Edited by Monica McGoldrick, Joe Giordano and John
K. Pearce. 1996.