I’ve been seeing the same therapist for 7 years once a week like clockwork.2 months ago I got frustrated with therapy and my therapist because I felt like i wasn’t improving or getting better. In fact, I felt things were getting worse with me. I told my therapist I need a break from therapy because I’m not getting better. She looked like she really didn’t care and never commented on it during our last session. It’s been 2 months and she’s never even called to see if I’m ok or if I want to come in for a session to talk about it. I’m feeling hurt and abandoned and this reminds me that I can’t trust anyone ever again. At this rate, don’t know if i want to go back to her. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with therapy and now this. What should I do? Discontinue therapy? Wait for her to call? Is this normal? Do patients just take a break and never hear from their therapists? I’m feeling very hurt. I invested a lot of money and time.
A: I’m sure this is one of those questions in which you could ask five different therapists and get five different answers. Some therapists tend to be very involved and nurturing, while others hold to very strict boundaries. The bottom line is that you are the one who decided to take a break, so shouldn’t you be the one to decide when the break is over? I’m guessing that she is giving you some space to decide how to proceed from here. It’s your treatment, not hers. If you are feeling hurt and abandoned, I’d say that those are issues you should talk to her about, but you will have to be the one to make the appointment.
You also mention that part of your reasoning for the break was that you felt you weren’t getting better. Sometimes that has a lot more to do with what is going on in the client’s life or brain chemistry, than whether or not it is productive therapy. However, I personally feel that both clients and therapists can stagnate after working together for years and a fresh approach from a new provider can be very helpful. I’d also refer you to the second half of another question I recently answered, titled “Therapy Advice.”
Whatever you chose, I hope that you will not give up on your journey of self-improvement.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts