Thoughts From This Therapist: You're Not Bothering Me
Note: The works in this series will always be the opinion of the writer (me, Rebecca). Therapy and healing is not a one-size-fits-all box, so keep that in mind when reading. Everything in this series will come from my experiences both as a therapist and patient. I hope it gives you insight into different perspectives, and gives me a place to share thoughts on topics I feel are important. Enjoy!
Something I hear a lot as a therapist, when clients reach out to me between sessions, is “sorry if I am bothering you.” I wanted to take a moment to address my view on this.
Simply put, you are not bothering me. I have worked hard to develop good boundaries to ensure that my time off is protected, and I have given clients that ability to reach out to me in these times, in the event that they feel the need.
I have found that clients usually do not take advantage of the ability to reach out to me between sessions, and are always respectful and understanding of the fact that I may not respond immediately. In fact, I tell my clients, upfront, the different methods they can use to reach out to me between sessions, and what they can expect from me.
I know that sometimes things happen, and you just need to send a quick note saying “need to address this”, or vent about what has happened to help you process and be able to feel alright until our next session. Sometimes we just need to get the thoughts out of our head, and it helps to know that we are sharing it with someone else. This is why I provided the different methods to reach out to me between sessions.
Another benefit to being able to communicate between sessions is that I am usually up to date, so we don’t have to spend a lot of time playing catch-up in the next session. Rather, we can focus on the healing and processing part right away.
I also like to have information on what is going on, as the more information I have the better I can support you. I’ve also found that sometimes individuals find it easier to share their feelings in writing, because of the personal space they have when doing it alone. I would be neglectful if I didn’t mention the fact that writing things down when they happen helps the memory process, because sometimes after the fact, our emotions prevent us from remembering things as well.
I often get asked how I create the space to ensure clients who reach out between sessions are not bothering me, and so I will share it here.
I am lucky that my office, although in my home, is able to be set off in a place that I only frequent when I’m working. If I’m not working, I am able to completely disconnect from work by leaving all of my work things in the office.
I have a work cell and a personal cell, allowing me to leave the work cell in my office, and not have to worry about it when I am not working. I also have two separate computers, so I am not tempted to check work emails when not working.
I again acknowledge that I am lucky to be able to have these strong boundaries, as it is difficult for many, and as a therapist, it really helps me to be able to fully disconnect in this way.
Of course, these are just my thoughts and practices, and may be different from other therapists. Feel free to ask your therapist what their thoughts, preferences, and boundaries are. And when they answer, trust their answer. We do tell you the truth, as that is a big part of the job.
Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Any thoughts on this topic? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find us on social media (@therapeutichealingjourney on Instagram or @llctherapeutic on Twitter).