From the U.K.: I had very severe depression and anxiety a few years ago and I saw a therapist for around two years. I don’t think we were particularly close, or particularly distant, but we got on ok, and she was very helpful to me. I am now hoping to go into psychotherapy myself, and I was hoping it would be acceptable to contact her to ask some specific questions about how to access career opportunities and training in our area.
So, my question really is, would this contact be completely inappropriate or presumptuous? And also, how would I got about it?! I only have the number of the surgery, where we only spoke to the secretaries, and never the therapists themselves. Would it be acceptable to ring the surgery and leave my number, asking her to ring back? Or could I leave my email address? And what are the chances of her actually getting back to me?
I feel like, my old therapist probably isn’t the person I should be going to for careers advice, but my questions are quite niche, and researching for myself hasn’t helped me at all. I need someone who knows the profession and speaks the language, and I think she’s the only person I could turn to… But how?!
Therapists differ in their ideas about appropriate boundaries. Some would welcome the opportunity to mentor you a bit. Others would not. I cannot therefore answer your questions specifically.
What I can suggest is that an email is the least intrusive way to contact her. An email lets you be clear about your request and also gives the therapist the opportunity to think about how she wants to respond. (A phone call might catch her by surprise.) I have no idea whether she will respond. All you can do is give it a try and not take it personally if she does not contact you. Lack of response may only reflect her agency’s or her personal policy.
I wish you luck in pursuing psychology as a career. In my opinion, those who have used therapy well bring a unique gift to the profession. You know what it is like to suffer. And you know what it is like to heal. That can only serve you well as a therapist.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Can I Contact My Ex-Therapist?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can I Contact My Ex-Therapist?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/09/10/can-i-contact-my-ex-therapist/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 10 Sep 2016) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.