There may be a number of different reasons why someone may need to change therapists. They may feel they have reached a plateau with their current therapist and aren’t making enough progress, or they may have to switch because they are moving or leaving treatment. Whatever the reason, changing a long term therapist can be a difficult transition especially if you have developed a high comfort level with them.
When changing your long term therapist it is important to notify your therapist in advance so that you can wrap up your discussions in a way that will prepare you for your next situation. You don’t want to leave abruptly or end the relationship in the middle of important emotional work. Give your therapist notice so that they can help create a more smooth transition for both of you.
It can also be a good idea to be prepared by having another therapist lined up so that you won’t have too much time in between sessions. You can ask for recommendations from your current therapist or your treatment center because they might know who will be the right fit for you. Looking for a qualified therapist can be stressful so make sure you have someone in mind before you leave your current therapist.
When you leave your therapist or treatment center you should make sure to get a copy of your mental health record. It is your legal right to have a copy of your record so your therapist may review and ask you to sign a release form. Although some mental health records don’t contain much information, it may still be useful for your new therapist to see what you’ve been working on recently.
It will take some time for your new therapist to get to know you, but you may find that the change brings about more progress and a different perspective.