Finding the courage to take the leap and get some therapy for yourself can be hard. It also takes time to develop a relationship with your therapist that allows you to trust them enough to be open and honest. This is especially true when you might be someone that has a history of trauma, abuse, or problematic relationships. That trust is hard earned and you may even feel like your therapist is one of the only people that you can actually be honest with about your feelings. Unfortunately, therapists are normal people too (well, most of us). That means that sometimes life gets in the way and they are no longer able to keep seeing you for therapy. This could be do to relocating, changing jobs to a different agency, not being approved as a provider for a specific insurance panel, or other personal reasons that you would never learn about. And when this happens… it usually doesn’t feel so good. Here’s a question that I recently got on episode 158 of the Hardcore Self Help Podcast:
I’m wondering if you have any advice for how to decide if you should stay with a therapist when a change makes continuing very inconvenient? Mine is moving her practice about an hour away, but I’m sure this would be applicable to others whose insurance has changed or who have had some other big life event occur.For background, I’ve been seeing a trauma therapist for about six months now. I’ve only recently become stable enough to really start digging into processing my trauma, and am feeling set back and defeated at the prospect of having to start over with someone new. I’ve made a lot of progress with my current therapist. She has said I’m welcome to continue with her if that’s what I want to do, but my abandonment issues have me concerned about my ability to trust her anymore anyway.
- It’s not personal.
- You have options.
- Process your feelings of abandonment WITH your therapist.
- Remember that therapy was a proof of concept that you can trust someone.
- Consider online therapy or telephone sessions.
- Work with your current therapist to establish a transition plan.
- If you have to stop, try to have some sort of closure.
After publishing the podcast episode, I got this update from the person that wrote in. Pretty cool!
I just wanted to send a thank you for answering my question! Plus a little update. I got the confidence to go back and process the feelings of abandonment! I actually ended up deciding to stay with my therapist. We’re figuring out the telehealth option. I’m super happy with that decision, especially now with the context of knowing that I would be okay if I had chosen otherwise.What was super helpful for me was your advice about how she isn’t the end-all be-all of my recovery. That made me to realize I needed to change my outlook on therapy. I was (figuratively) looking for a crash diet rather than just trying to work towards a lifetime of eating well, and reframing that feels like a game changer. Thank you so much for that insight.