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Re: what is your contat with former T if any? shrinking violet

Posted by pegasus on November 22, 2006, at 10:56:14

In reply to what is your contat with former T if any?, posted by shrinking violet on November 21, 2006, at 9:41:55

I saw a T for two and a half years, and then he moved away about three years ago. I emailed him every week or so for a while, then it tapered off. Right now I email him every few months. He responds to about half of my emails. He was pretty clear to set the expectation that he might not always reply before he left, but it still hurts when he doesn't reply. But I promised that I'd not interpret it as meaning that he forgot about me, or doesn't care.

I had a phone session with him a couple of months ago, to talk about some stuff around that therapy ending that was still really painful. It was really helpful, I think for both of us. I figured out that I'd been misinterpreting some things that had happened as he was getting ready to leave. And he figured out that what he'd been trying to accomplish in my therapy ending had not worked, and that it was very different from what I'd needed at that point.

I think that in school they tend to teach therapists that when you need to leave a client, your ethical obligation is to make sure that they have referrals to other good therapists. And that's all they talk about (in my experience as a student in an MA program in counseling psych). In one of my classes it was specifically recommended not to have contact with ex-clients. Which I, of course, vehemently argued against. But that is definitely one school of thought. The idea is that if you have continuing contact then you'll be in danger of setting inappropriate expectations for your ex-clients of continuing therapy or support with you, when really it's in their best interests to find another therapist who can more fully provide that therapy and support. Which makes sense in a logical sort of way, but doesn't account at all for the damage that can be caused by abruptly ending an attached relationship.

My guess is that your ex-T has gotten that sort of misguidance, and is trying to stick to it.





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