My therapist is leaving me

The other night I opened up what was, ironically, the best bottle of wine I’ve had since Ruby’s conception – Napa Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir, in case you’re interested. Jason was at work and Ruby was in bed. I drank one glass.

And I had the kind of reaction I had in college after drinking more than one glass of something and realizing that whatever boy wasn’t going to make me feel any less lonely. Only this time it isn’t a boy leaving me. It’s my therapist.

My therapist is leaving me. I’ve known this was coming for a couple months. Ever since her bulging belly popped out from under her scarf in that obvious sort of way. And I still have a few weeks left.

But I only have a few weeks left. And then she’ll be gone. Gone gone. And I’m not ready. The reality of this hit me the other night after that glass of perfect wine, and is hitting me again as I write this.

I really lucked out in finding her. Or rather, tripping accidentally into her. Our union is the sort of thing that makes me think there must be something almighty coordinating our affairs. She, herself, referred to the arrangement as “serendipitous.”

You see, I first went in under the label of “Crisis Management.” My therapist, who is trained in infant-parent psychotherapy, just happened to be there that day. And the on-call crisis therapist I saw just happened to think of her. That’s how it started.

According to the Kaiser model, I should have seen her for a month or two. Just long enough to get out of “crisis mode.” At that point, I should have graduated to group therapy. Or she should have referred me to someone on the “Adult” team. Instead, she squeezed me in.

I’ve been seeing her once a week or so for almost a year now. She knows me. She knows my story. She knows the DETAILS. She has experience counseling patients with EERILY similar DETAILS. I trust her. When I have a bad day or a bad week I look forward to seeing her. She supports me in a way my incredibly supportive husband, family and friends JUST CAN’T.

And she’s leaving me. For a BABY. Of all things.

So now I have, more or less, four options.

I could go back to group therapy. I say back because I did actually go for awhile. I went because it was something to do. An excuse to get out of the house and see people. I did not go because it did anything for me. It was always a small group, and the people were constantly changing. There wasn’t enough time to build the kind of trust that’s necessary to share the DETAILS. Somehow I mustered the guts and bared my soul the very first week I went. And some lady responded by saying the EXACT. ONE. WORST. thing she could have said.

Besides that, I wasn’t a fan of the format. The (I’m sure well meaning therapist) that led the group had us do yoga-for-the-sedentary for half the session and talk about our self-care plans for just about the other half. There was very little time left over to actually deal with any issues.

So that’s option one.

Alternatively, I could get that referral to the “Adult” team. Apparently therapists on this team have a very high case load. They aren’t able to see patients more than about once a month. My new therapist probably wouldn’t be trained to counsel women with PPMD. And because they’re constantly receiving new patients, there’s a chance they would try and push me in the group therapy direction anyway.

This does not sound appealing.

So then, I could venture outside of Kaiser. My therapist has volunteered the name of her mentor. The obvious downside of this option is that I would have to pay out of pocket. The less obvious, yet more daunting obstacle is starting over. I would have to start from the beginning and go through the DETAILS all over again. And that sounds painfully exhausting.

That leaves us with the fourth and final option. I could just give it a go on my own. Only problem is that feels lonely. The kind of lonely a single lady sometimes finds at the bottom of her wine glass.

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25 thoughts on “My therapist is leaving me

  1. Aaaaiieeeee! I sympathize. I haven’t been to therapy in a while, but I’ve gone off and on for TEN YEARS (OMG) and I just found out that MY therapist is RETIRING. WTF! Not that I’m seeing her right now or anything, BUT STILL. I’m not sure I can ever go back. I don’t know if I could stand giving someone else 10 years’ worth of neuroses. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. GAAAHHHH I AM SORRY!!!!

    • Oh bummer! I could definitely understand being upset your therapist is retiring, even if you aren’t currently going. There’s something to be said about having someone around JUST IN CASE. Also, 10 years of therapy – no biggie. I sort of feel like I’m the kind of person that could probably benefit from some kind of therapy for FOREVER. Even if things are basically good, it’s nice to talk out the little stuff, you know?

  2. You know I am going to comment on a therapist post. I can’t resist. What an absolute bummer. I would be drinking too and that would be serious. I support whatever you do, but let me say this: if my group therapist made me do yoga, I’d be out in a hot second.

  3. That sucks. Not much to add, except, that sucks.

    I don’t think you have any choice other than to start over. Your mental health is too important to white knuckle it.

  4. that sucks! I totally understand what you mean about opening up and sharing the details. To a lesser degree, I am having the same feelings about moving and leaving my friends back in LA. I am notoriously difficult in opening up and sharing parts of my life with others, and now I need to leave the ones that I have and start all over again? I know it’s not really comparable, but still…

    • I think it’s totally comparable. Moving is a huge transition. It takes a long time to build meaningful friendships, and meaningful relationships are ESSENTIAL to feeling happy and content with life. At least that’s how it works with me. If nothing else, at least you have me to sucker you into running races! Ha!

  5. I always joked that I could never go to (probably much needed) therapy because I’d have to start my story with the day I was born, and all the “details” would just take WAY too long. I have faith in you that you’d be fine on your own, but I understand the comfort that this person of trust brings and for that I hope you find someone new that you love just as much.

    • I don’t know Kari… You’re FAR more together than I am. It may not seem like it on the surface, but TRUST ME. I’ve got some crazies lurking around. Ha! So, I don’t know… Still don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe twiddle my thumbs until my anxiety becomes unbearable and then START OVER. Sigh.

  6. Finding a good therapist that you connect with is SO HARD to do!! But I say…DO IT!! It is worth it even if you have to interview a few to find a good match. Don’t settle!! Another things to consider – Will you therapist be back after her maternity leave? Can you see the mentor for a few sessions while she is out to “tide you over” then go back to your therapist when she returns? Might be another option…good luck!!

    • Oh, I wish I could go back to her! Those are such good ideas! But she doesn’t really know when she’ll come back or in what capacity. Even if she comes back to her same role I won’t be able to see her though… She only sees patients with chronic mental illness. I feel like I sort of cheated the system by seeing her so long under the “crisis” bucket. There’s a small chance she’ll open up her own practice at some point. But the when is totally unknown, if it even happens at all.

      So yeah… Thanks for your thoughts and advice. I know you’re right. I need to put in the work to find a good therapist. It’s just so hard opening up that much to one person, let alone multiple people! UGH!

  7. Aww, man! What a bummer! Although, I think it is super awesome that you did have a year with a kickass therapist (I feel like they are hard to find).

    What option are you learning toward? Major props for trying out group!

    • I think I’m leaning towards therapy with her mentor. I’ve pretty much ruled out the Kaiser options… Wish there was a group I felt I could relate to!

  8. That just sucks! I have to say I would go private and start over. We pay out of pocket for a fair bit of stuff because I avoid dealing with Kaiser, it is not a compassionate system at all. I really hope you can find someone else as great as the therapist you had.

    • I’ve pretty much decided to go out of system. I mostly really like Kaiser, but their therapy options are really not great. I think the only way I ended up with such a positive experience is because I basically cheated. So now I just have to decide if I’m going to jump straight into regular therapy with someone else or see how things go without it.

  9. Late to the party but thought interesting. Could you not wait till her maternity leave was offer or was she never plan on coming back?

    • Complicated situation… I was basically seeing her through a glitch in the system. She wasn’t sure if/when she was returning. But even if she did I wouldn’t have been able to see her.

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