Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Scot Allgood


Scot Allgood


Brent Miller


Shelley Lindauer


The purpose of this study was to explore and better understand termination in the field of marriage and family therapy, as well as to generate a working model of termination. Data were obtained from a total of 40 marriage and family therapists (MFTs) licensed in the state of Utah. Two research questions were posed about termination and how client type and treatment progress may influence the termination process: (1) Given that MFTs see individuals, couples, and families, are there differences and similarities across client types in regard to how therapy is terminated?; and (2) Does termination differ in regard to treatment progress (i.e., clients have been completely or partially successful in meeting the specified treatment objectives)?

Data examined from these therapists suggested that marriage and family therapists terminate individuals, couples, and families in a similar, but not sequential, manner using six main steps: (1) plan for future problems, (2) review goals, (3) summarize treatment, (4) orientation to termination, (5) review skills and resources, and (6) empower clients. This model was compared to and analyzed against a four-step model conceptualized by Epstein and Bishop. The results not only produced a similar termination model to that of Epstein and Bishop, but added greater depth and clarification to the steps outlined in the model. The data also supported the idea that treatment progress may influence termination for couples and families, but did not support it for termination with individuals.