Therapist has moved; should I travel to continue?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I saw a therapist off and on over the course of 13 years, which began in my teens for a complicated abuse history that sometimes after 5 years of not needing or going to therapy, will rear its ugly head (PTSD and depression)and cause problems again. The therapist has now moved and was the only safe person I’ve ever had to process these issues with, having no parents or siblings. Does it sound strange or ethically challenging in any way to fly the distance of about an hour one-way (the drive would be 8-9 hours round trip) to see this therapist 1-2 days a month? My spouse is a pilot and the airfare would be free. We live near a major airport. The therapy and taxi would be my only expenses. My schedule is busy but flexible enough to pull this off. I’ve just heard so many negative stories about people having to go through 5 or more therapists to find a good one and enduring the emotional damage of a bad match, it just seems more safe and logical to go with what I know. And yet, if this is some kind of strange attachment gone awry and I should be able to move on to another one, then I will challenge myself to do just that and risk the possible detriment. I am very afraid of that possibility because I have made tremendous gains with this person on issues I never thought were conquerable, and feel very blessed to have worked with him, but want to be healthy about this decision. I’d like your objective opinion. Better yet, what would you do in my situation? Thanks

A. I do not believe there is anything strange or ethically wrong about traveling to see your therapist. If you found a good therapist that is helping you, and you can afford to make the trip and it fits into your schedule, then I see no reason why you should not keep seeing this therapist. Plenty of people would envy you for finding a therapist that is helping you to make tremendous gains. If you feel he is helping you, keep going and only stop if you no longer feel the need for therapy. Your decision to stay with this therapist is very healthy and logical given the gains you made. I would also suggest you begin the process of finding a local therapist. This may at some point become your main therapy or sole therapy. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Aug 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Therapist has moved; should I travel to continue?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/08/21/therapist-has-moved-should-i-travel-to-continue/