Therapist of 8 years takes 3 weeks leave to grieve death in the family.

I understand how you feel like you've lost your shelter from the elements, @NightSky. That's a very natural feeling. We come to depend on our Ts so much for emotional regulation, for comfort, for validation. It's a relationship unlike any other in our lives, and we can come to depend on our Ts so much. Perhaps too much.

Lots of good advice in this thread which I won't rehash, but I wanted to add that this is a great opportunity for you to practice emotionally regulating, comforting, and validating yourself instead of looking for your T to provide all of that for you by herself. She'll eventually be back, and you can talk about what it was like for you. You have the tools, and I know it's extremely scary to rely on yourself to use those tools. But I bet that you can.
 
I totally get the challenge when T's go off for longer than usual and also throw in additional time off.
But....
It's for her to judge what time she needs off. She is doing that so she can be the best therapist she can be. Her being off is not actually any indicator or her lack of care about you.
She was available to you for a check in. That is going above and beyond. And she arranged for more care for you by suggesting a therapist whilst she is off for the further period.

What you're feeling is transference. All valid. But worth taking a step back from and working through. All highly painful stuff but the freedom to work through this is great.

Stick with her. This isn't about her. But about very old wounds you're carrying about.
 
It's important for her to heal and grieve for herself,
Just want to add that we don't actually know why she needs the time. Might be to deal with personal feelings of grief, might be to help deal with more mundane logistical problems for other people, might be something else. All we really know is she was able to take that much time and chose to, Depending on the situation, there can be lots of things that need dealing with.
 
I’ve run up against an issue with my therapist of 8 years. She has been incredible and I think I’ve come really far. But I am very disorganized in my attachment with her and I don’t do well when she cancels last minute. I’m an adult and understand situations warrant it. But she cancels more than most therapists I believe. We’ve worked on it consistently over the years.

She gives me advance notice when she’s taking time off, usually.

In late October she had a death in the family that was expected. She didn’t know exactly when it would happen, but when it did, she took three weeks off. I don’t think that was her original plan. But that’s what she said she needed. I did okay coping with that but had a triggering event happen right toward the end of her leave. I met with her and it was somewhat helpful but I was almost in crisis and just couldn’t regulate well. She told me to be in touch and be honest. So that week when she checked in I was honest that I was having a really hard time. And she said since she wasn’t at capacity it might be necessary that I meet with someone else for a while, especially because she was going to go away again in a week. Which I had no knowledge of.

That put up a wall and made me really angry.

I don’t know if I’m being irrational because I can be in this relationship (and really only this relationship).

One issue I have is that I don’t feel like it’s “real life” that life gets to stop for three weeks in order to grieve. Most of us get a few days and we have to be at work or taking care or responsibilities. It feels like a bit of a credibility issue. Like you’re going to help me learn to grieve when you get to stop the world to do it and I have to work and parent do life at the same speed while grieving. (I also had a major loss in the fall).

In hindsight I feel also that leaving for three weeks with no plan in place and no back up feels like abandonment.

She explained that she’s human and needed to heal to be good for her clients otherwise she knew she wouldn’t be able to help them.

My feelings on this are all over the map. What would you do/say?

I know I can switch therapists but I’m so invested in our work and really don’t want to do that. I want to deal with this rupture in a clear headed way that isn’t driven by anxiously attached parts of me.
3 weeks seems very reasonable for bereavement leave. A referral therapist seems to have been a better solution if she was out for 3 weeks and also she indicated she was struggling (with capacity). It doesn’t matter if the death was expected - she needs time off - it’s healthy to take time for yourself. our society taking off only a few days is unhealthy…. Your therapist was brave to share she was at capacity AND your feelings are valid. Sending you good vibes….
 
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