Student Perspectives: Student Therapists’ Perspectives on Termination with Clients with Complex Trauma
For many doctoral-level training programs, psychology trainees are limited to one year or less of therapeutic work with clients per clinical practicum rotation. This can be difficult for both students and clients alike, as transferring clients is not always clinically indicated and can seem abrupt and unnatural. It is estimated that 80% of student-clinicians must forcibly terminate with their patients, with more than 50% of these trainees reporting being inadequately prepared to terminate therapy (Zuckerman & Mitchell, 2004). Likewise, the duration of clinical rotations often requires clients to cope with the loss of a therapist each year. Due to many training sites using a sliding pay scale, individuals of lower socioeconomic status are disproportionately affected by the one-year training model (Aubry, Hunsley, Josephson, & Vito, 2000; Thompson, Graham, Brockberg, Chin, & Jones, 2017). Consequently, clients who fall within a lower socioeconomic status often become entrenched in the cycle of building intimacy and trust with a therapist and then “losing them” at the end of the training year.