Leslie Minna

Date of Award


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Lynett Henderson Metzger

First Committee Member

Jennifer Cornish

Second Committee Member

Patrick Fox


Termination of psychological treatment is a necessary part of the therapeutic process, but it can pose complex clinical, ethical, legal, logistical, and social challenges. This complexity becomes even more evident in the current era of treatment delivered by a team of healthcare professionals. Appropriate termination will usually involve a team decision and synthesis of the various team members’ recommendations for appropriate follow-up, medications, or transfer of care into an integrated formal document to be communicated to the patient. The healthcare team may also face other considerations such as record keeping and communication responsibilities when the patient (or the patient’s insurer) terminates prematurely and unilaterally. There is limited empirical data on the frequency and effects of adequate and appropriate termination of treatment versus termination done sub-optimally, particularly when a healthcare team is involved. Practical guidelines and a standardized team-based approach are needed to provide a framework for dealing with this issue, which eventually arises in every patient’s evaluation and treatment. This paper explores the multiple aspects of treatment termination in the context of team-based inpatient care, utilizes a clinical vignette to provide an illustrative example of the complexities, and then provides a best practice approach to psychological treatment termination in the Appendix.


44 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons