Contacting a therapist from your past

by Jen
(North Carolina)

I had a great counselor for six years (94-2000). I moved out of state and had contact with her a couple of times after that(when I ran into some issues a couple years later) and we chatted. About a year ago I would say I located the clinic she was working for and sent her a letter requesting information and for her to contact me and I got no response. My question is about whether therapists have a limitation on talking with previous clients from a professional standpoint or whether there is some other reason she chose not to contact me when I reached out to her? I was in a very bad space and thought I could trust her for assistance and nothing..?

Ben's Answer:

Just as with any type of relationship, it never does any good to make assumptions when someone fails to call you or connect with you. Naturally you feel rejected or abandoned in this situation since she didn't respond to your letter. But it doesn't account for the possibility that she never received it... or was on vacation at the time... or was dealing with her own crisis... or overwhelmed by her current case load.

There is no restriction, professionally, regarding not talking to a former client. In California, at least 2 years must pass after terminating therapy, before you can have any kind of non-professional relationship with a former client.

I wouldn't take this personally. Maybe it would be better to call than to write a letter? Or maybe this is a sign that it's time to move forward and find a new therapist.

Best wishes,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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