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Health & Fitness How To Deal When Your Therapist Goes On Leave

06:50  18 october  2019
06:50  18 october  2019 Source:   huffingtonpost.com

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When your therapist takes a leave , they will likely refer you to someone who is covering their practice or another therapist for you to see in their As an added exercise, Irwin suggested visualizing or journaling what you would share if you were in therapy during this time and saving that for when you

A therapist explains when you should call it quits, whether When it’s a good match, your therapist remembers things that are important, and That was the red flag for one of my patients, who explained at our first session that she’d left her previous therapist after they kept insisting that she go on a diet.

Doctor or psychiatrist consulting and diagnostic examining stressful woman patient on obstetric - gynecological female illness, or mental health in medical clinic or hospital healthcare service center Doctor or psychiatrist consulting and diagnostic examining stressful woman patient on obstetric - gynecological female illness, or mental health in medical clinic or hospital healthcare service center

You have a standing appointment with your therapist. You may count on that regularly to help you tackle any challenges that you encounter. But what happens if your therapist goes on vacation or needs to take an extended leave?

If you rely on seeing the same person week after week, finding out that you will have to spend a period of time without their support can be daunting. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make this transition easier.

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If you’ve developed a good relationship with your therapist , it can be hard to cope when they go on vacation. You might feel abandoned, uncared-for, or You can make coping with your therapist ’s absence easier by preparing for it ahead of time, finding alternate ways to deal with your emotions

Others feel left behind and resentful, frustrated, angry or even enraged. • Ask your therapist to let you know when they go away, and ask them how long they will be out of town for. Discuss your feelings and concerns – these discussions can contribute a great deal to a helpful therapy process

Here are some tips on how to handle it when your therapist takes a break:

Create a personalized leave plan ahead of time with your therapist

a person sitting in a room © g-stockstudio via Getty Images

Brittany Fagan, a licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach in Atlanta, suggested that clients work with their therapist prior to their leave to “develop a written plan in the event that they are triggered, based on your strengths, coping skills and available resources.”

To do this, take a moment to consider your past and current triggers and how you have been able to navigate them successfully. “If there are areas that you are still concerned with managing, use the last one to three sessions before your therapist goes on leave to address them or learn specific coping mechanisms,” she said.

How to make your therapy sessions more effective

How to make your therapy sessions more effective (Aside from honesty about how you're feeling)

I can't go through her leaving again; it's just too much. I don't think I could survive that pain. You can raise the issues you are having in the relationship and deal with how they are affecting you, how they are connected to the You do not need to be concerned with how your therapist is affected by this.

When it comes to finding a therapist , "fit" is extremely important. So take your time looking through 3. Ask your therapist what progress might look like, and how often you should check in to gauge This is especially true because we tend to avoid things that are hard to deal with and may not even

Get the details on their leave

In most cases, your therapist will provide you with relevant information about their absence, explained Ana Jovanovic, a psychologist with Parenting Pod, a resource catering to the mental well-being of families. She noted that the reason therapists do this is to manage your expectations about the continuation of your work while they’re gone.

Therapist communicating with man while sitting by book shelf at home office Therapist communicating with man while sitting by book shelf at home office

Per Jovanovic, if your therapist does not share this information with you themselves, it may be useful for you to ask them about:

  • The duration of their absence

  • The nature of their absence (for example, they may be traveling and be physically absent yet available for online check-ins, or they may be completely unavailable)

  • Their availability during their absence (are they available to answer emails, return phone calls or have online sessions or not?)

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  • Their availability after their absence

“This may prove to be very valuable in deciding whether to wait for their return or to look for other resources in their absence,” she said.

Accept your emotions around the situation

A relationship between a therapist and a client is often incredibly deep, so leaving such a strong and meaningful connection ― even if it’s just for a few weeks or months ― can feel disorienting, said Ashley Kreze, a registered clinical counselor and psychotherapist based in Vancouver.

Woman at therapy session. Attentive psychologist. Attentive psychologist holding pencil in his hands making written notes while listening to his client Woman at therapy session. Attentive psychologist. Attentive psychologist holding pencil in his hands making written notes while listening to his client

Feeling confused, sad, anxious, scared, lonely or angry in this situation is completely normal. Kreze said it’s important not to criticize yourself for having these emotions.

“Don’t try to push them or run away from them. Instead, let yourself feel them and discuss them with your therapist,” she said. “Since the relationship between you and your therapist is built upon trust, acceptance, and confidentiality, discussing these hurtful emotions may provide some level of understanding and, more importantly, comfort and healing. This situation is exactly what your therapist is there to help you with ― so don’t be afraid to use it therapeutically.”

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Ask for a recommendation for a stand-in

a man sitting in a chair looking at a phone © SeventyFour via Getty Images

When your therapist takes a leave, they will likely refer you to someone who is covering their practice or another therapist for you to see in their absence, said Sharon Saline, a licensed clinical psychologist and ADHD expert in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Ideally, she said, you would give your therapist permission to talk to this person ahead of time so they have some idea of what your general concerns are and how you’ve been working on them in therapy. Saline added that it can be helpful to use this time to see someone who does adjunctive work that would support your work with your therapist but not replace it.

Young woman visiting therapist counselor. Girl feeling depressed, unhappy and hopeless, needs assistance. Serious disease, unwilling pregnancy, abort or death of loved one, addiction to drugs concept Young woman visiting therapist counselor. Girl feeling depressed, unhappy and hopeless, needs assistance. Serious disease, unwilling pregnancy, abort or death of loved one, addiction to drugs concept

“For example, I’ve seen a few people who wanted more specialized work on ADHD and improving executive functioning skills while their primary therapist was away. We focused on these areas as a complement to the other treatment they were receiving,” she explained.

If you don’t want to hop in with a new therapist, another alternative could be to join a therapy group, support group or online group, said Catherine Jackson, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist in Chicago.

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Swap your appointment time for another healthy activity

Use your standing appointment time to do something good for your health, suggested Nancy Irwin, a psychologist with Seasons in Malibu, a Southern California-based addiction facility.

“During the hour you would normally have therapy, do something that is self-caring: meditate, get a massage, read, work out,” she said.

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As an added exercise, Irwin suggested visualizing or journaling what you would share if you were in therapy during this time and saving that for when you return to normal sessions.

Assess your daily habits before your therapist leaves

Consider your current day-to-day lifestyle and think about what areas you can change to decrease your overall stress while your therapist is on leave,” Fagan said.

This includes doing a life assessment ahead of time with your therapist and considering making some slight changes to make life more manageable to the point you feel more in control. “For example, adhering to a better sleep schedule, adding an extra exercise class or gym day, not working overtime or not over-scheduling yourself,” she said.

Young male visits psychologist counselor. Unhappy client covered face with hands, crying, feeling depressed, hopeless, needs doctor assistance. Serious disease, addiction or death of loved one concept Young male visits psychologist counselor. Unhappy client covered face with hands, crying, feeling depressed, hopeless, needs doctor assistance. Serious disease, addiction or death of loved one concept

Take a break

It’s OK to pause therapy every so often, especially if you have been in treatment for a while, Jackson said. She noted, however, that this advice does not apply to everyone.

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Leaving therapy can be difficult. Remember that the therapeutic relationship is a strong bond Some people continue to go to therapy on an ongoing basis. That’s okay, especially if you don’t have Your therapist does more talking than listening. Your therapist tells you what to do and how to live your life.

When your head and gut are telling you this contact could be a good therapist for you, make the appointment. Because entering into therapy is a It shouldn’t be a deal breaker if they don’t offer a gratis session. If you found a good therapist , how did you find him/her? Would you add anything to

“Those who are at higher risk for relapse into destructive or negative places or are at risk for self or other harm are some examples of those who must continue treatment with another practitioner while their therapist is away,” she said.

Overall, look at it as an opportunity to practice what you have learned

Although your therapist’s leave can be a pretty scary thing, it’s also a time to examine your progress, Kreze said.

Red haired psychiatrist listening her patient after traumatic events while sitting on beige settee Red haired psychiatrist listening her patient after traumatic events while sitting on beige settee

“It’s a beautiful opportunity to practice your psychological coping skills on your own and get to know yourself even better,” she said.

This can also be a time for evaluating areas where you’re still struggling. But the most important thing to do while your therapist is gone, she added, is “continue practicing what you have learned in therapy, whether it’s with a new therapist or on your own.”

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