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What do you do when your therapist goes through serious life shit?

My therapist’s husband died after getting a sudden infection before the Holidays.

I decided to go back to therapy for a “tune up” with my old therapist. She’s in her late 60s and when we had our first meeting back in October, she let me know that she might be retiring in the summer (when her lease is up on her office space). That was fine - I wasn’t looking for anything super long term, going 6-9 months was good for me and if she did decide to stop seeing clients, I was happy to use the opportunity to transition to another therapist through a referral she would give me.

Then her life kinda blew up.

At the beginning of December, her brother-in-law died and the week after her husband was hospitalized with an infection. I saw her a couple of weeks ago because she started to see people again since he had stabilized, but he took a turn for the worst and passed this past week.


That’s as much detail as I have (which I think is appropriate - my therapist is super professional and doesn’t talk about her personal life, but obviously it’s kinda impossible in this situation in order to keep me updated on whether or not we will have a session). If I was in a space where I REALLY needed to talk to someone, I would ask her for a referral and that would be fine and she would give them to me, but I’d rather wait this out and see if she plans on seeing patients still.

But man, this is WEIRD (I feel bad saying that, but the therapist/client relationship is so one sided that when shit gets real for a therapist, its an odd situation - its not appropriate to do the stuff you would usually do when someone dies - also even if it was appropriate to send flowers or food, I don’t know where she lives obviously). I gave her my condolences and I know that she won’t start seeing clients unless she’s ready and if she’s not ready that she’ll give referrals.

I don’t quite know where I’m going with this post. I’m not looking for any advice but maybe others have experience with this? Did your therapist keep practicing after a major life event that affect your sessions (because something major could be happening and you wouldn’t know necessarily)? Were your sessions different after and if yes how?

I feel so terrible for her and I’m just not sure how to navigate this situation.

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