The thought that your therapist is unavailable can cause anxiety. Maybe they're only gone for a week or two (hello, holiday), or maybe it's a few months (psychologists also have babies!). Anyway, you may not know what to do in your absence.
Sometimes therapists approach their first appointment on how to deal with this situation, Beatrice Tauber Prior, Psy.D., owner of Harborside Wellbeing in Cornelius, North Carolina, tells the SELF. This is especially likely if they have some form of vacation that makes the formation of an emergency plan urgent. "A therapist should clearly disclose the procedure he has for out of town time or not," says Tauber Prior.
"Psychologists have an ethical responsibility to their clients for the duration of the therapeutic relationship," says Nicole Issa, Psy.D., co-founder of the Center for Dynamic and Behavioral Therapy in New York City, tells SELF. As Issa explains, this is very clearly cited in the Ethical of the American Psychological Association
Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct . Basically, a responsible therapist will not just give you and your sanity to hop on a beach in Belize.
Even if you have discussed your therapist's vacation protocol with them in general at a certain point, it's fine if you've forgotten what it is. As a rule, the therapists give the patient notice as long as possible before going on vacation (unless something suddenly happens), Issa says. At this point you can ask as many questions as you like to feel comfortable before they leave.
If you do not want to be without therapy your therapist will not be there all the time …
1. Tell your therapist that you are nervous because of lack of therapy.
Sometimes interrupting the therapy can be a great thing, and we'll be immersed in it right away. But do not be shy if you feel worried about worrying about this prospect, says Issa. "Your therapist should understand and expect that you may have conflicting feelings if you want your therapist to have the spare time while he's angry that your therapist is not there for you," she says.
. 2 Ask if you ever have telepsychology appointments.
There are a number of reasons why your therapist may not be able to see you in person. Depending on the circumstances, they may be prepared to perform telepsychology sessions Tauber Prior says. Your therapist may not have access to videoconferencing technology or may not use it in their practice, but it's a fair question and a good one Option to think about it, she says.
. 3 Ask if you have a suggestion for a therapist that you can see in their absence.
Suppose your therapist leaves for months and does not do telepsychology sessions or you really want to see someone in person. Find out if they can refer you to a colleague whose vacancies are open, says Issa. Then ask the administration team in practice if the concealing therapist completes their insurance .
"It may be helpful to meet this person before your therapist's last session before you [they] to make sure it fits in well," says Issa. You could also research the new therapist's website or online reviews to gain insight into how the therapy works.
Of course, it may take a while for you to really get acquainted with a new therapist, but your gut feeling can tell you if this is the case or not you two could be a match. If you do not believe it is you, you still have the support of your current therapist to help you find someone.
. 4 Ask how you should deal with a mental health emergency while away.
Depending on the specifics of your treatment, your therapist may be available at any time, Issa says. That may change when they say goodbye.
"Some therapists also remain available while on vacation or during longer holidays, others have a masking therapist." Sari Chait Ph. D., a clinical psychologist based in Newton, Massachusetts, opposite SELF. Before your therapist leaves, make sure you get in touch with them, when and how to contact them, or whom to turn to while they are away.
All of the above can be helpful in some moments of mental suffering If you endanger yourself or others, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room, Issa says. The Free 24-Hour National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-8255) is also an available resource if you need assistance.
If you feel quite well, if you want to take something a break from the therapy …
1. Discuss this possibility with your therapist.
"It's possible that you're taking advantage of the time your therapist is on vacation to disconnect from the therapy and consolidate the achievements," says Issa. For example, it may be helpful to use your regular therapy time for reflection and journaling, she says.
"People are sometimes surprised at how good they are and how much better they can handle things before they engage in therapy," says Issa. "In other cases, the absence of therapies can help people identify areas they are still struggling with and need to keep working on." This may make therapy even more effective when your therapist returns, she says.  Of course, discuss this in advance with your therapist to make sure you agree with your break. Even then, it can still be helpful to talk to you who to turn to if you want to resume therapy before they are back, Issa says.
. 2 Make a list of potential stressors that can occur when your therapist is away, and then talk about it before they leave.
Do you have a large working time? Is your partner traveling to work, so you have all the child care? Discuss how you could handle it. If you discuss these strategies in advance with your therapist, you can be more emotional and resourceful while your therapist is away, and you can think about returning them, says Tauber Prior.
3. Continue to practice your psychological coping skills yourself.
Informing your therapist of your progress is a great motivation to work on your new skills, but you should not stop just because you have a break from therapy. "One of the most important tasks for the customer is to keep practicing what they have learned," says Chait. "Like learning a new sport or playing a musical instrument: if you do not practice the skills you learned in therapy, you can not use them well if you need them."
Think of techniques that have done this have been effective for you in the past, says Issa. Maybe it's the deep breathing, mindful meditation or the reminder that it's okay to reach a friend or family member if necessary, says Chait.
When you are in a stressful moment and struggling When you know which coping skills are best, Issa suggests asking, "What would my therapist say?" You can also discuss potential coping skills with them, before they leave, and create a list that is easily accessible.
. 4 Ask her what your plan should look like if you have a mental emergency.
You will probably discuss who you should turn to in practice, depending on the severity of the emergency, and remind you that you should always call the number 911 or 911 immediately National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), when you think of harming yourself or others.
You should also discuss with your therapist what you should do when you do it You do not necessarily have to have harmful thoughts, but in your absence you have a harder time than you would expect in your practice with a particular therapist put in touch. You may not have to follow your plan, but it is wise to clarify it in all cases.