Returning to Therapy After a Break

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Like any journey, your therapeutic journey may have starts and stops, highs and lows, departures and returns. Sometimes unexpected changes in life force you to pause the investment in your mental health. Or maybe you wanted a break to focus on another part of your life.

Once you are ready to return to therapy, you might wonder how you should go about it. What should you say to your therapist? Perhaps something to the effect of “I’m back” doesn’t seem like enough.

Ultimately, the therapist is not going to judge or reprimand you for taking a break. Even if you ghosted on your therapist, he or she will most likely approach with curiosity, not anger or criticism. Therapy is a place of acceptance, and no amount of absence can change that.

Most therapists respond to returning clients by acknowledging their dedication to mental health. To help clients recall the skills and insights they gained last time, the therapist might review notes and ask questions to refresh memory.

If you can’t think of anything to say when you reconnect with your therapist, here are some steps you can take:

1. Let the therapist know you want to get back into therapy.

The therapist might not immediately realize you are trying to recommit to therapy. Being clear about your intentions will get the conversation going.

2. If you hadn’t already, explain why you took a break.

If you left without a word, the therapist’s mind might be spinning with questions or worries. Your return is an opportunity to clear the air about any unresolved issues from before you left.

3. Talk about what you did during the break. Were there any significant events, changes or revelations?

Your therapist will need this information to adjust their strategies for improving your mental health.

4. If you have new goals in mind for therapy, mention them.

Sometimes a break allows you time to realize what you want or need. Think about these realizations as potential goals for therapy.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for reaffirming the commitment to living a happy, healthy life. May the new part of your journey be even more rewarding than the last.

Published by

Joseph Rauch

Staff Writer at Talkspace