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How to Cope When Your Therapist Tells You They Can't Treat You Anymore

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I have been in and out of therapy for quite a few years now, but I have been with the same therapist for about the last two years. She is a therapist I have connected to on a deeper level, and I have loved being able to work with her. Finding the right therapist is always so difficult because it can often feel like dating. You have to find a therapist who makes you feel comfortable and cared for, and I felt this way with my therapist, and I knew I could trust her.

Unfortunately, my therapist recently told me that she couldn’t treat me anymore. She specializes in eating disorders, which I have, but she is not very knowledgeable about schizoaffective disorder, which takes up a large portion of my life. In the beginning of our work together, she was honest about not knowing very much about schizoaffective disorder, but she was willing to try and work with me. I thought that we had done some great work with each other, and I was comfortable with her trying to understand my schizoaffective disorder on top of my eating disorder. However, recently my symptoms have become increasingly worse, and my therapist told me that she couldn’t treat me anymore because she was out of tools to help me manage my illnesses, and she worried for my safety with how my symptoms have progressed.

This absolutely broke my heart. I felt so cared for by my therapist, and this felt like pure abandonment. I have cried for many days knowing I am losing her in my life, and I feel so rejected. She is willing to keep working with me until I find a new therapist, but each time I have a session with her now I just end up crying over how sad I am. I feel like something must be deeply wrong with me that my therapist can no longer help me, and I have endured a severe relapse with my depression because of this loss. Right now, the pain feels like it will never end, and I honestly feel like I won’t be able to find a therapist who is willing to treat all of my mental illnesses. My self-esteem and self-worth have become so low, and I am really struggling to continue on.

However, I do understand it is a therapist’s duty to acknowledge when they are no longer able to serve a client, even though it may be a difficult decision. If being terminated by a therapist has ever happened to you, I want you to know that I understand your pain, and you are not alone. Feeling rejected can be so painful, but you deserve the best treatment. And if your current therapist cannot do that for you, it is wise of them to end your relationship so that you can find someone who can better serve you.

However, you do have the right to grieve the loss of your therapeutic relationship. Now is the time to be extra kind to yourself to help you get through the pain of losing a therapist. You will find a new therapist who can serve you better, and it might end up being an even better relationship than your previous therapeutic relationship. Just know that what is being done is to help you improve your health in the best possible way.

Even though I am still hurting tremendously, I do know that I am just going on to the next part of my health journey and hopefully I will find someone who has the expertise to address my mental illnesses. I just try to remind myself that this is all for the best, and that I am going to be OK.

Getty image by Kilito Chan

Originally published: August 12, 2022
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