Long-Term Therapist Skipped Town/Disappeared/No Contact

toolrocks242352

Not Active
I am currently in a very sketchy and incredibly traumatizing situation right now. My long-term therapist, who I've been seeing twice a week for a year and a half, quit her job without notice. I found out even more disturbing details today that suggest she was planning a cross-country move weeks ago and that she just wasn't going to tell me or her other clients. No one at her job had any idea what happened to her and I thought she was deathly ill or something bad happened to her.

It started last Thursday morning. I got an email at around 8:30 am from the receptionist stating that my appointment had been cancelled and that I would need to call the office to schedule an appointment. This was odd, because usually my therapist always tells me in advance or as soon as she can when something comes up, and I get an email from her and not the office. But this time, I called the office and they told me they were instructed by the supervisor there to cancel all of her future appointments with all of her clients. The receptionist said no one told her why, but said to call back later and she would try to give me some info, because I insisted that I wanted to see the same therapist and would wait if she was on leave.

Later that day, I called the receptionist to see if she had an update on the situation. She said she texted my therapist who told her that she was on extended leave for a ''personal matter'' that was ''unavoidable''. The receptionist told me that she could go ahead and schedule me with a different therapist there since they didn't know when my therapist would be returning to the office. I said I would wait, but the receptionist insisted she would reschedule. I called the following morning to tell her I had given it some thought and to cancel the appointment with the new therapist, and that I would be willing to wait as long as needed for my therapist to return to work since I have been seeing her so' long and since we work so well together. The receptionist then said ''we don't think she's coming back''. I said, "how would you know she isn't coming back if she's on leave"? Then she said "we just don't think she will be coming back." She said my therapist no longer had access to company email account so I couldn't contact her for a termination session of any kind, and when I asked if she could reach out to her on my behalf to see where she will be practicing, the receptionist said no.

Initially, I thought my therapist had been fired due to a meeting we discussed that was to take place the day before with her supervisor. She had weekly supervision meetings, and there was a neuropsychologist at the practice who was very strict on ADHD assessments because she thought it was over diagnosed, which meant me and hundreds of other clients of my therapist and other therapists there were unable to get assessments for ADHD, because the one neuropsychologist there was over all of the other nurse practitioners who prescribed meds for it and this one lady did all the assessments, so she used that to block people from getting assessments. They had like 1 ADHD assessment they were able to get through in 1 year and all the other clients got rejected by this lady for assessments, including me, even though I've dropped out of college 7 times due to ADHD relevant symptoms and was trying to get through this semester without failing. I told my therapist I wanted to try and get an assessment again, and she said she would bring it up with her supervisor that Wednesday at their weekly supervision meeting to see if there was any way around the neuropsychologist there blocking everyone from getting assessments. I told her I would send her an outline of parts of the Code of Ethics that lady broke when she blocked me from getting an assessment in case she needed it for her meeting with her supervisor. Then, I woke up the next day, Thursday, and they were cancelling all of my therapist's future appointments. So naturally, I thought they saw her as a threat for trying to report the neuropsychologist and possibly fired her.

I knew that regardless of what happened I wanted to continue working with her as a client, so I reached out to one of her colleagues since they closed her company email after she left. I told her colleague I was concerned about how abrupt things ended and that my therapist and I had both agreed to see each other long-term until I graduated college and had a good career lined up, so it was very alarming when suddenly she was gone and wanted to see if she could reach out to her and let her know I'm still interested in being a client when she is practicing again. I did this also because I read about non-compete clauses and non-solicitation agreements, and read that the client would need to contact the therapist first and that a therapist leaving a practice was not allowed to tell clients where they were going or they could get sued. So I thought the reason for my therapist not reaching out after she disappeared was because legally she was not allowed to. The colleague I decided to reach out to was the one that actually referred me to her, and I knew they were close, so it seemed like a decent option and at the time my only means of contact left.

Her colleague seemed to reach out to her based on the email response I got back, where her colleague told me

"She is not the type of person to abandon her clients. I can assure you, she would reach out if she could right now. That, of course, does not mean she will never reach out again. Just that right now she is unable to. She cares deeply for her clients. I know when she can she will reach out to you. I can see you feel very concerned and out of control with this situation. You both had a great connection and that is hard to find. I do want to encourage you to find someone else to fill the place in the meantime, and I know that it would be a good idea for you to continue seeing someone in the area. I really do wish I had more to tell you. Know that she still cares about you and will reach out when possible. Just focus on finding someone to fill the space in the meantime, knowing that she is doing what she can on her end."

So, that response kind of reaffirmed my suspicion about a non-compete clause and non-solicitation agreement maybe being why she hasn't contacted me or didn't tell me. But it still didn't add up completely, because my therapist had always reassured me that no matter what she would never abandon me, and if she were to ever leave she would bring me with her as a client. She wasn't going anywhere, she would say, she was going to see me through college and after. Any time she was even a few minutes late she always let me know when something was up. Something told me to look into this more because no one was really giving me any kind of an answer on what really happened.

I did a background check to see if something had happened to her, checked court records, checked to see if her license had been suspended, etc. On the background check I found out she had been evicted from an apartment like 10 years ago, but something told me to look at the reviews for that apartment. I looked at the Google reviews, and sure enough there was a review posted by a Google account with the first initial of her name and no profile picture that posted a 1 star review a year ago. Didn't think it would be relevant since she was evicted nearly 10 years ago from there, but looked at the other contributions for that Google account, which included details about her and her writing style in the reviews that were almost dead on for the writing style she used in all of her emails to me. There was a review posted 2 weeks ago for a Mattress Firm in the city she moved to this town from, stating that she has a ''cross-country move coming up and wanted to have her bedding shipped at a later date and was glad they could help." So it is starting to seem and feel like she just decided to skip town without telling any of her clients or anyone at her job. She was acting normal at our last session and seemed to have things planned ahead for the company there, she mentioned a conference they were having the following week, so her suddenly leaving her job seems strange. Also because she has always told me she is a complete homebody and never leaves her house, she has been with the company for 6 years and loves it, and they let her work from home.

Which of the two scenarios seems more likely, that she was fired after trying to report the neuropsychologist or that she left town without telling her clients for a planned cross-country move based on the Google review with her initials and writing style? I'm in shock that she wasn't willing to contact me and give me at least some kind of any apology, because she has been trying to build trust with me over time and work on trauma with me, she knows most of my C-PTSD is from betrayal, abandonment, and abuse from other people, so it seems very twisted that she would do this on purpose or carelessly without any concern of how it would damage me. The receptionist just told me that my therapist told her to "tell all my clients I'm truly sorry", but that doesn't seem like her at all, because she always reaches out personally when something happens and gives details. Also, please don't suggest I see someone else because I am VERY traumatized by this situation. What do you make of this mess?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry this has happened to you and of course you want answers.

Maybe she is very sick? Whatever it is, it sounds personal, and that is the reason you're not being told what it is.
I would leave the detective work alone. Sounds to me you might be jumping to conclusions about this cross country move? (You haven't experienced her be underhand in this way, so I wonder if this conclusion is more about your thoughts than the reality of what has happened for her?)
I would trust what the therapist who responded to you and referred you to hersaid, their response sounds considered and telling you that she would not be dropping clients as she cares about you (which you know and have experienced from her).

It sounds a crappy situation for you to be in, with perhaps limited place to get a clear reason about why she has left. But, maybe take the advice from that therapist?
 
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Friday

Moderator
Which of the two scenarios seems more likely, that she was fired after trying to report the neuropsychologist or that she left town without telling her clients for a planned cross-country move based on the Google review with her initials and writing style?
Neither. Are they both possibilities? Sure. As are at least 2 dozen equally likely options/scenarios I can think of off the top of my head; half a dozen of which necessitate not telling clients as doing so would put her life -or the lives of others- at risk as that info would invariably be bandied about (people calling her work, tracking her down at home, etc.); and another dozen or so being legitimately last minute notice / no way to foresee leaving immediately.

As far as the mattress review? I wouldn’t put too much stock in it... as someone who has spent years finding people, for a living. Smart people, and those used to protecting other’s interests, obsfucate things online for privacy’s sake. And she sounds like a smart cookie. She may have been buying the mattress for a summer home, and didn’t want her order tagged as someone who is wealthy enough to have a summer home & here’s the address! Or she may have been buying it for a niece’s first apartment after university, and didn’t want the order flagged as going to a young woman living alone, and here’s the address! A cross country move conveys the same info (somewhere I’m not currently living, and the hassles that creates) as a summer home or rapable young woman who will open her door for you & your delivery... without painting an “easy target” on anyone.

Ultimately? I do get the ethos behind the Q, even if those are only 2 out of dozens of options: it was either planned or unplanned.

- If planned? It sounds like you trust her judgement enough that if you were privy to the details you would most likely agree she took the best course of action available to her.
- If unplanned? There was no help for it, and again since you value her judgement, if privy to the details would probably agree that she’s dealt with a difficult situation in the best way possible.

What do you make of this mess?

Exactly This. (Below) IE What she & others have gone to considerable effort to convey. At face value. No, it doesn’t make you privy to the details of what happened... but it does express real care & concern, as well as the desire for you to find someone to continue your work with as she is now unable to.
She said she texted my therapist who told her that she was on extended leave for a ''personal matter'' that was ''unavoidable''
"She is not the type of person to abandon her clients. I can assure you, she would reach out if she could right now. That, of course, does not mean she will never reach out again. Just that right now she is unable to. She cares deeply for her clients. I know when she can she will reach out to you. I can see you feel very concerned and out of control with this situation. You both had a great connection and that is hard to find. I do want to encourage you to find someone else to fill the place in the meantime, and I know that it would be a good idea for you to continue seeing someone in the area. I really do wish I had more to tell you. Know that she still cares about you and will reach out when possible. Just focus on finding someone to fill the space in the meantime, knowing that she is doing what she can on her end."
 
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toolrocks242352

Not Active
1) Radical acceptance

2) please learn to abide by professional boundaries

3) as much as this sucks, I think it’s an important lesson in not getting so attached to professional help. At the end of the day, there are no guarantees, and you still pay for their help one hour at a time.
Wow. Ok. I did abide by "professional boundaries" until I was abandoned without any kind of explanation from her that I rightfully deserve. The guarantees are in the Code of Ethics and one of them is not abandoning clients. So I feel that I was right in looking for answers because I never got an explanation or apology from the one person I was supposed to trust. Everyone keeps saying not to get attached and then after being traumatized that I'm just supposed to suck it up and go to another therapist. I am so traumatized I don't think I will ever be able to see one again. And radical acceptance is not always the solution. Acknowledging my own worth as a person and trying to find answers that will give me a sense of peace is more important than just accepting it and moving on.

Hi. As shitty as the situation is, I don't think that's there's much that you can do. It is what it is. She's gone. And fighting it will just prolong the situation. Hopefully you can start seeing a new therapist. Good luck. 🙂
No, I can't. What happened to me is more trauma on top of the trauma I already have. I'm not going to retraumatize myself by putting myself in a situation where another therapist will eventually also abandon me and do the same thing. I get that therapy is one of the main solutions for PTSD but now that this is more trauma for me I just can't.
 

NightSky

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t know what scenario is likely. But I just want to say I’m sorry this happened and you absolutely should be able to trust your therapist not to abandon you. I can’t imagine what could happen in the life of a therapist to cause this kind of disappearance. I do hope you get answers. And if I were you I would see someone else soon, just to continue to deal with what this brings up for you. It won’t be the same. But you shouldn’t be alone. And you can acknowledge right off the bat that your immediate need is to handle this loss and confusion. It’s not a replacement. But it’s a support in the meantime. Which you deserve.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
No, I can't. What happened to me is more trauma on top of the trauma I already have. I'm not going to retraumatize myself by putting myself in a situation where another therapist will eventually also abandon me and do the same thing. I get that therapy is one of the main solutions for PTSD but now that this is more trauma for me I just can't.
Just because for whatever reason one therapist has left it doesn't mean every therapist is going to do that. That's a cognitive distortion. I really hope that you can allow yourself to see someone else.
 

toolrocks242352

Not Active
Just because for whatever reason one therapist has left it doesn't mean every therapist is going to do that. That's a cognitive distortion. I really hope that you can allow yourself to see someone else.
What an invalidating thing to say. I came on here to get support. This would be a distressing situation for anyone. I thought joining a PTSD forum would be helpful but clearly this one is incredibly toxic since at this point I've only had a couple of responses that were actually courteous. How about I tell you to go and face your biggest trigger right now and then if you don't I'll say ''that's a cognitive distortion''. Just because you're able to go to therapy and you didn't have to go through what I did doesn't mean it's the same situation for me or that you are in any place to judge.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
What an invalidating thing to say. I came on here to get support. This would be a distressing situation for anyone. I thought joining a PTSD forum would be helpful but clearly this one is incredibly toxic since at this point I've only had a couple of responses that were actually courteous. How about I tell you to go and face your biggest trigger right now and then if you don't I'll say ''that's a cognitive distortion''. Just because you're able to go to therapy and you didn't have to go through what I did doesn't mean it's the same situation for me or that you are in any place to judge.
you've completely misinterpreted what I said and I haven't judged you.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I understand. These are very hard feelings to process. Betrayal is what I think these feelings are. The therapy relationship is so intimate. I suffered from what you are describing in many of my relationships and I was always feeling betrayed and being triggered. I’ve had more than one therapist leave or retire. It was horrible back then. It wouldn’t be easy now. But people are liable to do the worst things and the therapist is one. Liable and capable. That doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to you. I’m sorry and I hope you feel better.
 

Friday

Moderator
What an invalidating thing to say. I came on here to get support. This would be a distressing situation for anyone. I thought joining a PTSD forum would be helpful but clearly this one is incredibly toxic since at this point I've only had a couple of responses that were actually courteous.
We’re a peer to peer PTSD community. Everyone here either has PTSD/CPTSD or supports someone who does. We’re not therapists or crisis workers whose entire focus is on building a rapport with a single person, to discover and help them in the ways they like the most, and respond to best. We’re here, in the trenches of our own lives, helping each other out the best way we know how. Support doesn’t always -or even often- look like agreement, nor do people with PTSD share a single personality; the exact right way to say something for one person is just going to piss another off, and not parse at all for a third. Diverse community, with diverse personalities, and diverse histories. Not everything is going to resonate. For anyone. But the flip side is that there will almost always be someone whose been where you’ve been, AND can talk about it in a way that does make sense, right down to the ground.

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