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Question
Posted by: stella | 2004/10/05

Therapist-patient relationship

Hi Doc
I have been seeing my current therapist for several months now, (re depression), and he has helped me a lot - this is the first time I feel that counselling has been of any use and that I am making some progress! Problem is, I'm now getting panicky about how I'm going to cope without him (leaving town very soon)... is this weird, does it often happen, and could it have anything to do with the fact that he's male and I'm younger and female? Eeeek. Do patients often get attatched to their shrinks?

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Our expert says:
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stella --- discuss this panicky feeling frankly with your therapist. I'm not clear from your message whether it's you or the therapist who is due to be leaving town soon.
Any good therapist has very clear duties when he is leaving a practice --- he must try hard to arrange for his patients to be transferred to the care of sa similarly skilled therapist who can take over their care, and provide a summary of relevant information to that therapist. Similarly, if it's you who are travelling, he ought to discuss with you possible therapists ( or how to find one ) wherever it is that you're going, and to provide a summary for you to take with you and give your new doc.
And either way, the therapist ought to discuss fully and frankly with you, this common feeling that you fear you might not cope without him, to help you prepare for the separation, and to realize how much better you actually are, and how you'll cope much better than you anticipate.
And yes, patients very often get attached to their shrinks, it's a well-recognized part of the process, and no shrink should be taken by surprise about this, and hould be able to handle it.

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