How to deal with your therapist going on Maternity leave: Expectation and general considerations of a collaborative plan
Getting the news that your therapist is going on leave can understandably bring up a range of feelings and concerns. At RPC we currently have 2 amazing therapists anticipating their maternity leave. Having taken maternity leave 4 years ago, I find myself reflecting on this experience and want to explore strategies to navigate this situation and provide insight on things to be considered.
What to do if my therapist goes on Maternity leave?
Open communication- Your therapist will share with you when they anticipate their leave to be, usually a few months' notice, and they will tell you how long they anticipate being gone on leave. Know that it is valuable to take time to share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your therapy sessions. There will be regular check in’s as the leave approaches and opportunities to discuss your feelings and concerns as they arise. It’s understandable if you have a mix of emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, fear. It’s not uncommon to have the thought “happy for you but what about me?” Being open about your thoughts and feelings can help process them and aid in exploring alternative sources of support during the therapist's absence.
Collaborative plan- You and your therapist will create a plan which will review the time remaining before leave, estimated date/week of last visit, current and future therapy goals to focus on for the remainder of your time together. You will also work together on a plan for coverage during the leave. This might include transferring to another therapist, referrals outside of the practice, or pausing therapy until your therapist returns from leave. Here is a general outlook of things to consider:
Navigating the transition of a therapist's maternity leave is undeniably a complex process, filled with a whirlwind of emotions and considerations. However, it also presents a unique opportunity for growth, resilience, and self-discovery. By actively participating in this process, you can continue to work towards your therapeutic goals, maintain emotional support, and even develop new coping strategies in the therapist's absence. The experience can further solidify your understanding of your needs, strengths, and support systems, fostering a greater sense of autonomy and resilience. So, embrace this transitional phase with an open heart and mind, trusting in the collaborative plan laid out and the unwavering support of your therapist, as they navigate these changes together, one step at a time.