OCD · Personal · Therapy Advice/Experiences

Finding Out Your Therapist Is Leaving

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Long time no blog. Sorry I’ve been inactive for a little while. For this post I want to cover something that I have experienced myself not too long ago. It’s a pretty difficult thing and I’ve mentioned it very slightly in my last post, but I wanted to cover it in more detail as it does happen quite a bit.

You build up a strong connection with your therapist as you head down the road of recovery. They’re there when you think that you can’t continue the fight anymore and they help you get back on track and keep going. So when you hear that they’re leaving it can be extremely difficult especially if you’re not ready for them to go just yet.  It can feel like a little part of you is dying inside when you find out. It can feel as strong as a loss of a loved one.I mean it’s understandable, that one person who probably knows more about you than anyone else and who has helped you through so much is going to be gone. You might never see them again and that prospect can be really crushing. It really was for me. Therapists can leave for all sorts of reasons and it’s unfortunate when they have to leave in the middle of your recovery and it can be hard not completing the journey with the same person you started it with. It can be really upsetting.

I found out that my therapist was leaving at the start of August. It came as a total shock I had no idea that she was going to tell me this. I had mixed emotions when I found out because I had just been told that I would be able to see her on a weekly basis rather than a fortnightly basis which I was really pleased about because I hadn’t been coping very well in between sessions. However then she said that another reason why she thinks it would be best if I saw her more often was because she was scheduled to leave at the start of October. My heart sank when I heard this. I did cry when she told me because I was just completely shocked by what I’d been told. When I got home I was just so upset. I think it was because I was just starting to get back on track again and this just felt like such a setback. I cried a lot for about a week after finding out. I get very attached to people and I’m not really very good with change so this in my head was one of the worst things that could happen. Then of course I had all the questions come into my head like:

  • Who am I going to see next?
  • Is this it, will I have to go alone now?
  • What if the new therapist doesn’t understand me?
  • Am I going to have to start all over again?

All these questions were being repeated in my head and really I didn’t have any of the answers. I tried to keep myself occupied and active so that I would be able to keep my mind off things, but It was very difficult. I had about 7 scheduled appointments left before she had to leave, and we actually made a lot of progress in those 7 weeks. I was starting to challenge my beliefs about illnesses, I had become a lot happier generally which was really nice and also I had started delaying some of my routines which had turned out really good. Take that OCD! 😀 I slowly started to come to terms with the fact that she was leaving and I tried to get the most out of the sessions we had left. I also found out that I would be continuing with treatment just with someone different.

I’ve thought of some tips that might be useful if you are going through your therapist leaving right now.

  1. It takes time. Your therapist leaving is sort of like a grieving process or can it definitely feel that way. Be nice to yourself, it’s going to take time for you to adjust to the news so just take it one day at a time. Try doing some things that you love or spend some time with your family/friends. Try and think of the positives.
  2. Ask questions. You probably have been told that your therapist’s leaving a little while before they actually do, so when you see them next don’t shy away from asking questions. They’ll probably be expecting them because it’s going to be a big change for you. If you’re worried about something it’s best to ask them so you feel comfortable with whats happening.
  3. It does get easier. It really does, even though sometimes it feels like it never will. Time allows you to recover and heal from what you were feeling before. Whether it takes you a few days, a week, a few weeks a month or a few months it will gradually get better I promise.
  4. Tell your therapist how you feel about them leaving. Don’t hide how you are feeling to your therapist. It’s best to let them know how you really feel so that they know how it’s effecting you. They may also have some tips too.
  5. Worried about changing therapists. This is probably the big one. If you know that you will be seeing someone else once your current one has left you will probably be feeling very nervous and apprehensive about it. Will they be the same? What if they don’t understand me? All these questions are perfectly normal. I’m going to write a blog post about this in the near future to give you more advice. I will link it here once I’ve wrote it. “Changing/Transferring Psychologists” (Post)

I have had my final session with my previous therapist, and I’ve had my first appointment with my new therapist which went great! 🙂 Like I said I’m going to be making a blog post about transitioning between therapists in the near future. On a side note I’ve noticed that I always do the exact same thing every time I write post. I think of an idea about what to write about, in my head I have so much I want to say and then when I come to writing it I go blank and it never comes out how I want it to. The perks of blogging! Also I get sidetracked way to easily. Prime example in this paragraph.

If you have just come across this post because your therapist is leaving please take care of yourself. It does get better and you will get through this, and I hope you haven’t minded my rambling.  ♥

-Ellen https://twitter.com/Ellen_White_

‘Every little thing is gonna be alright.’ ♥
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