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Re: email contact after termination

Posted by fallsfall on July 22, 2004, at 8:21:51

In reply to Re: email contact after termination, posted by rs on July 22, 2004, at 6:15:11

As a "dependent" therapy patient, this is my first reaction: Do send something back, but make it a bit removed - like "I was glad to hear from you and glad to hear you are doing well. I'd love to hear an update in the future."

The rest of this post is "rules" that I would like to give to a former therapist if I were in the situation you describe. I don't have the capacity today to write this in a less demanding way - sorry. I trust that you can pull the meaning from what I say without feeling like I am making demands or stating absolutes. I did find it interesting to try to envision what kind of contact I would find helpful, and what would not help. I hope that my viewpoint can help you decide what response will be most helpful for both you and this specific client.

1. Send something back so that she knows it was OK for her to send the email in the first place.

2. Don't comment on specific things in her email (don't give her the impression that she can count on you for feedback). For me, if a former therapist gave a comment (even a positive one) or advice I would yearn for her continued help.

3. Do echo the general tone of the email - Glad things are going well, or sorry things are rough. This would tell me that she still "cared" - that how I was doing mattered. Otherwise I might feel abandoned???

4. If it is true, tell her she can repeat communication in the future - if you are concerned that she might contact too often you could say "I'd love to hear how you are doing again next year (or "in a couple of months" or "in the winter")" - that would indicate that she shouldn't send you a weekly email.

5. Don't ask any questions that would suggest that you want a return email. If she sends you an email and you send one back that she needs to respond to you may get into a frequent-email-exchange relationship which you probably don't want (and probably isn't good for her).

6. Send your reply 4 -7 days after you got her email. You don't want to set up a precidence of quick replies, but you don't want her agonizing for more than a week about whether she did the right thing.

She is lucky to have had you for a therapist.




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