Summertime is full of fun adventures, vacations, and breaks from therapy. You or your therapist may go on vacation, have an emergency, or be under other circumstances where you must take a week or several weeks off from therapy. While this is not an ideal situation, it is part of life. If you are going on vacation, you may have several emotions including excitement, joy, and anticipation, but you may also experience some guilt for taking off a session or two.
How do you handle these situations and emotions?
If you are going on vacation or need to take some time off, please communicate with your therapist. Tell them how long you plan to be gone, if you plan on completing your homework or attending the session virtually, and what you should do in case of a mental health crisis. Your therapist may or may not be able to see you virtually depending on the program and if you leave your home state, but they will be able to help you create a plan for while you are gone.
What will happen if your therapist takes some time off?
You may have many emotions about your therapist taking time off, including worry and anxiety, among others. Having those emotions are completely normal! To help mitigate these emotions your therapist should tell you when and how long they will be out of the office. Then you will plan for their absence, and you should be appointed a backup therapist that is available for you to meet with in the event of a crisis. If you are comfortable, you may skip that week and resume services when the therapist returns. Here are some tips for preparing for your therapist’s absence:
- Create a response prevention plan. Include your triggers, stressors, and how to handle them using your learned skills. Incorporate what skills you have learned or are working on, when to use them, and how you will remember to use them.
- Do the homework your therapist has assigned. Like any other week in therapy, your therapist will likely give you homework so you can practice your new skills. Keep practicing!
- Practice self-care while they are away by scheduling something fun during your typical therapy time. Maybe grab a meal with a friend or family member, take a walk, exercise, journal, learn a new skill, or do something out of the ordinary for you. The possibilities of things you could do are endless!
- If symptoms increase, call the appointed therapist for an emergency session or contact your local crisis hotline. If you do not know your local crisis line, 988 is a national hotline for those experiencing a mental health crisis. 988 can also direct you to your nearest crisis program.
If you are interested in seeking therapy in Baltimore, we’re here to help.