We tend to forget that therapists, counsellors, and psychiatrists are humans just like us. They have families and responsibilities outside their jobs. They have bills to pay, children to watch, and relationships to foster just like the rest of us. We see them as guides through really tough times in our life. Sometimes, they’re the only voice that can speak to us while we’re drowning. It’s natural that they seem almost untouchable; above our everyday problems. Still, they have them. Sometimes, you might find yourself in my boat: my therapist left.
The best thing in the world is meeting and working with someone that you click with. The therapist that I’ve had for the last few years has been that. Where others have been quick to prescribe meds, she knew that I always wanted to try another route first. She knew that I was unbelievably analytical, so self-diagnosis was a serious problem if I let myself go too long without seeing her. Lastly, she knew that I was stubborn. I would go to my dying day saying that I was fine. If I had to handle school, work, and stress while dealing with a severe mental illness, I would without help. But, I would do so until I absolutely broke down.
The Realities of Having a Therapist
Finding the right therapist can be difficult. It’s like a blind date. You’re not really sure how you’re going to click with this person. However, you’re expected to unload a lot of intimate thoughts onto them. I’ve definitely done an intake with someone who I totally did not click with and requested a new therapist.
Sometimes, the therapist you’ve heard amazing things about isn’t taking new clients. You have to wait for a referral from someone that’s higher up the food chain. In the hospitals, where these therapists are more accessible and insurance carriers are more likely to cover it, the faster therapists fill up. Can we all just agree that we need more mental health resources at LOWER COSTS?!
Once you find someone that clicks, you kind of cling to them like a weird stuffed animal. You get attached pretty fast. They become part of your family, but like an objective part that will tell you that you’re being irrational. You know? It’s all part of the realities of having a therapist and being a client.
My Therapist Left
Another harsh reality is that your therapist might move! As I said before, these people are human beings with families, lives, and responsibilities that exist outside of their offices. In my experience, therapists that have moved practices or from one state to another have done so with ample notice to their patients. Obviously, I’ve been blessed with finding a great couple of providers, but I’ve never called to make an appointment to find out they’ve vanished. Usually, when they leave, they’ll refer you to another therapist that they think will work for you. You get the final say, of course. They give you time to see them and make those arrangements.
All of that being said, however, doesn’t make that loss any easier. Being understanding about the fact that my therapist had children and a life outside, doesn’t invalidate that that is a loss in my life! A therapist is someone that you share intimate thoughts and traumas with and you are allowed to feel a sense of loss – they know that which is why they try to make the transition as easy as possible!
Truthfully, it’s not something that is a “typical” occurrence by any means. You’re more likely to move to a new place or need to switch providers far before you’d ever deal with a therapist moving, but it does happen. When it does, we need to know that it’s okay to feel that loss, feel it all, and reach out for help during that transition.
Most recently, I called my nurse practitioner about some more guidance in choosing who to schedule my next appointment with. Something that I thought was totally in my own hands was made very comfortable by having a professional walk me through my file and talk to me about therapy I preferred! A quick telephone call can save you hours of scouring the Internet looking for a name to jump out at you, when you might not really know what you’re looking for! There’s NOTHING wrong with asking for help in times of these weird transitions – in fact, everyone involved wants you to!
So yes, my therapist left a couple months ago. She absolutely rocked. I’m going to miss meeting with her. The relationship that I had with her was so beneficial for me in some of the darkest times of my life. At the end of the day, I’m allowed to miss her! But, I know that there’s therapists that are smart, able, and willing to accompany me in my mental health journey just as she was all those years ago!
If you’re having trouble finding a therapist, getting yourself involved, or just want to talk about other options/my experience with therapy, PLEASE get in my DMs below! I want to chat!