Therapist vacation letter to clients


  • A Psychotherapist’s Out-of-Office Email Response
  • Why Therapists Break Up With Their Patients
  • Practice Matters
  • An Open Letter from a Therapist to His Clients
  • When a Client Asks You to Write a Letter
  • How to Take a Vacation as a Private Practice Owner
  • A Psychotherapist’s Out-of-Office Email Response

    Most people come to therapy to talk about relationships — with their partners, parents, children, and, of course, themselves — only to discover how significant their relationship with their therapist will become.

    The reverse, however, is also true: Sometimes therapists break up with their patients. In the bittersweet way that parents raise their kids not to need them anymore, therapists work to lose patients, not retain them, because the successful outcome is that you feel better and leave.

    Can you imagine a worse business model? But occasionally we have to say goodbye sooner. At 30 years old, she came to me because she struggled in her social life. She did well at work but felt confused and hurt when her peers excluded her.

    What, she came to me to figure out, was going on? But no matter how I tried to help Becca, we both felt stuck. Week after week, I felt useless, and I started to wonder if the problem was me.

    Because therapists work alone, most of us seek outside feedback about challenging cases from trusted colleagues. So I brought up Becca several times with my consultation group: Was I missing anything? How might I reach her? What else should I try?

    But when all of their suggestions fell flat, they asked me why I was still seeing Becca. Maybe someone else would find a way in, they suggested, or maybe another therapist would be as stuck as I was, but why waste her time?

    What makes therapy challenging is that it requires people to see themselves in ways they normally choose not to. Of course, therapists aim to be supportive, but our support is for your growth, not for your low opinion of your partner. Our role is to understand your perspective but not necessarily to endorse it. My own therapist put it more bluntly: If I just wanted to feel good in the short term, he told me, I could eat a piece of cake or have an orgasm.

    So finally, reluctantly, I decided to end our sessions. Why are they telling me this? What significance does this have for them? People who are aggressively boring want to keep you at bay. What patients need from us is compassion, yes, but also objectivity — a light shined on their blind spots. What we need from them is trust that we care about their progress as much as they do, and a curiosity about the ways they may be unwittingly perpetuating their difficulties.

    Why Therapists Break Up With Their Patients

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    Last year, I sent one of my colleagues, Christine Garcia, MA, LPC, an email while she was out of the office and, in response, received an email from her autoresponder. Her email was so thorough that I wanted to share it with you and invited her to guest post about it right here. However, she modestly gave credit to Barbara Sheehan-Zeidler, MA, LPC who originally introduced her to the idea of using an autoresponse but did graciously agree to share the evolution of this email response that she uses today.

    If you are interested in writing a guest post, check out the guidelines here. It seemed that being able to leave work behind and mentally escape became essential to my self-care as a clinician in private practice.

    My clients were amazing-but-intense people with crisis-oriented situations that often put them in harms way. They were women who were victims of domestic violence and several were involved with Child Protective Services.

    I enjoyed working with them but found I needed a mental and emotional break at least once a year to avoid burnout. In order for me to really let go of worrying about my clients while I was laying on a beach somewhere soaking up a cocktail and some sun, I realized that I needed to be reasonably sure that my clients could get help if they reached out to me while I was away.

    Responsible to Them In fact, I knew it was my responsibility to any client trying to reach me both current and new clients to give them information about where to seek help and support during my absence. Although I would create plans with my current clients before being away from the office, I realized that having additional coverage meant I could better enjoy my time away because I worried less. So, in addition to getting coverage from a colleague to answer urgent calls or hold a session with a client in crisis, if needed, I also set up an automatic outgoing email that provided helpful information.

    Her version is better than mine. Just click to download. Do you have experience using email auto-responders? If so, what has your experience been? Are there other things that you include in your out-of-office emails? Prior to becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor, Ms. Garcia worked in domestic violence victim services, child adolescent treatment centers, and for Child Protective Services.

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    Practice Matters

    Although you might sympathize with Ms. This situation calls for a formal assessment by an independent custody evaluator who has no previous acquaintance with the any of the family members.

    When you refuse to write the letter, Ms. Naturally, she thinks of you. While you do know her well, neither of you can predict how a letter from a therapist will be received by the school's admissions committee. Would they view it as a plus, demonstrating that Ms. Or might they view her being in therapy as indicative of emotional fragility?

    Even though mental health treatment is more common and less stigmatizing than it used to be, stereotypical assumptions have not gone away. Thus, a character reference from you might hurt Ms. D's chances of being admitted to the program, and you should decline. For the past few weeks Mr. He is employed as a warehouse foreman. He has gone to work every day, but recently was given a warning for lack of attention to safety issues.

    An Open Letter from a Therapist to His Clients

    The disciplinary action has magnified his stress, and he strongly feels that he needs some time off work. The company HR manager told Mr. If you presume that removing the daily stress of his job would help Mr.

    After Mr. Don't give any more than necessary. For example, if all they require is a diagnosis and documentation of dates of treatment, there's no reason to offer any additional details. Eight years ago Ms. You wrote a report at that time confirming the diagnosis, and you made some recommendations to the school.

    When a Client Asks You to Write a Letter

    Now the boy is 17 almost 18 and starting college. While ADHD doesn't disappear, it affects people differently at different ages and in different circumstances. Given that you have not seen the boy for several years, you are not in a position to render a professional opinion about his educational needs in college. In this situation, you might offer to do an evaluation update, but with no guarantee that you will write the letter that Mrs.

    Summary The examples above illustrate the potential implications of what may appear to be a simple request to write a brief letter. Consider the purpose of the letter - What is it intended to accomplish? The reverse, however, is also true: Sometimes therapists break up with their patients. In the bittersweet way that parents raise their kids not to need them anymore, therapists work to lose patients, not retain them, because the successful outcome is that you feel better and leave.

    Can you imagine a worse business model? But occasionally we have to say goodbye sooner. At 30 years old, she came to me because she struggled in her social life. She did well at work but felt confused and hurt when her peers excluded her.

    What, she came to me to figure out, was going on?

    How to Take a Vacation as a Private Practice Owner

    But no matter how I tried to help Becca, we both felt stuck. Week after week, I felt useless, and I started to wonder if the problem was me. Because therapists work alone, most of us seek outside feedback about challenging cases from trusted colleagues. So I brought up Becca several times with my consultation group: Was I missing anything? How might I reach her? What else should I try?


    Therapist vacation letter to clients