Breaking up with your therapist might seem like a weird thing to say; but I assure you it’s not as weird as it may sound. Although a professional relationship, therapist-patient relationships have the unique component of an intimacy due to the nature of what gets discussed in sessions. A trust has to be built in order for the patient to be able to be as open as possible in what they share.
I trusted my ex-therapist in a way I never trusted any other therapist. That’s why when she told me that she had taken me as far as she could, I knew she was right. From the time I walked into her office, I was determined to make progress, something I felt that I hadn’t always been able to do in the past. She created a warm and safe environment that made it possible for me to share the bits of me that I’d been holding pretty close to my chest.
It was in this safe space that I was finally able to get to the root of where my first traumatic experience occurred and as a result, why I continued to live my life as if it was one long trauma response. She explained to me that trauma was not her specialty, and she felt it would be more beneficial to me to see someone who specialized in this type of therapy. She also disclosed that she was leaving the practice. Oof. Talk about a double whammy.
My initial reaction was immediate disappointment. I liked her after all! She had helped me find healthy coping mechanisms and effective ways to communicate my feelings. She helped me through weight loss surgery, returning to school and returning back to the work force. She was no-nonsense but in a way that let me know she had a vested interest in my outcome. I had never had a therapist who was as good with me as she was. The idea of having to start all over again definitely gave me a little bit of an anxiety attack.
My second thought was I knew she was right. If she was telling me that I needed a trauma therapist to help me continue on my journey; I knew that ultimately she was ensuring I get the help that I truly needed. Essentially she told me it was time to “graduate” to the next phase of my healing. I simply had not considered that the next phase in my healing journey would not include her. I had grown quite comfortable in our weekly sessions, and I even looked forward to them because with each session I found myself becoming a better version of myself.
But the reality is, your therapist is not forever. Your therapist is there for as long as the season of your life that you need them. I recognized this and she was even there to help me work through the emotions as I prepared to transition to a new therapist. Fortunately, she recommended me to a great trauma therapist who was able to take me on. I love that despite our journey together coming to an end, she made sure that I had the proper support in place for the next phase of my healing.
I’m grateful for the experience and the privilege I’ve had to work with a therapist who is as gifted as she is. I look forward to doing the same with my new therapist. This is ultimately another lesson in change and transition, and that is a lesson I always need. The biggest take away for me? My healing is my responsibility. No one therapist is going to be my magic wand or cure all. As long as I understand that I am accountable for healing and growing, no matter what therapist I have; I will be just fine.
Until next time,