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DrFee , Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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psychiatrist departure

Customer Question

My psychiatrist provided therapeutic support that complemented therapy. I mention this so that you know it was a therapeutic relationship as well as a doctor-patient relationship. My therapist then unexpectedly moved away . I have seen her replacement since then.In October 2011, 6 months after my therapist left, my psychiatrist told me he was also leaving.He left in February 2012. It has been 8 1/2 months since he first told me about his departure, and I am still so broken up about this. I had seen this psychiatrist for ten years; the therapist leaving also had a tremendous impact on me. Is this in the bounds of normal? What can I do to heal faster? The psychiatrist did give me his current telephone number, but I do not want to bother him.


Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


I am glad that you have had a lot of good support, but it does sound like both the Psychiatrist and Therapist leaving were significant losses for you. 10 years is a long time. As a culture, we tend to rush people through the grieving process. Also, some people don't appreciate that losing therapists to a move/job change is a big loss that takes time to grieve.


So while grieving is normal and there's no "right" way or length of time, there does come a point when grieving becomes "complicated" --meaning that it's no longer "normal," but a problem. Complicated grieving is akin to being in "heightened," and "prolonged" state of grieving. I'm going to give you the signs of complicated grieving, and you can tell me if they any of them fit you or do not fit you and to what extent:


  • Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the therapists
  • Intense longing or pining for them
  • Problems accepting that they are gone
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Preoccupation with your sorrow
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Inability to enjoy life
  • Depression or deep sadness
  • Trouble carrying out normal routines
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Lack of trust in others

    Since you are already have replacements for your Psychiatrist and therapist, if you think your grieving has become complicated, it would be a good idea to discuss this with them --treatment for complicated grief generally includes therapy (similar to treating PTSD) and possibly antidepressants.


    As far as the Psychiatrist giving you his number, I am wondering if he gave you any parameters/guidelines about when/under what circumstances it is OK to call, etc. If you are not clear, maybe you can ask him what he expects from you (is he saying it's OK to call if you have a major life event you want to share for example or was it to help transition from him to the new Psychiatrist?) If you are not clear what the boundaries are, I can see where it might not feel right to call him.


    Please feel free to follow up with a response to this answer.





    DrFee, Psychologist
    Category: Mental Health
    Satisfied Customers: 437
    Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
    DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
    Customer: replied 4 years ago.
    Hello. Thank you for your informative response. With respect to whether the grieving has reached the "complicated" stage, my answer is: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. The two factors that come closest to applying are:
    "Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the therapists.
    Intense longing or pining for them."
    But "extreme" and "intense" are difficult for me to comprehend. Is it very emotionally painful? Yes! And I do cry about every 2 of 3 days for maybe five minutes. But it has NOT impacted my functionality in any way. When I'm at work, I can now put it out of my mind completely -- which wasn't the case initially in the loss. What are your thoughts/best educated guess based on all of this? Thank you, thank you.
    Customer: replied 4 years ago.
    Relist: Other.
    You could help me simply by responding to my reply. The site text says that Dr. Free may be offline, and other psychologists and psychiatrists may be online now. If so, it might be helpful to get further input from a different point of view. But I am also happy to wait for Dr. Free if that is preferable.
    Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

    Hi Beth,

    I would be happy to respond to you further at no additional charge if you want (please post your specific follow up question) 0r --if you prefer, I will opt out and I am sure another Expert would be more than happy to give you another opinion.

    Let me know. Thank you for your Accept and for your positive feedback.

    Regards, Dr. Fee

    Customer: replied 4 years ago.
    Hello Dr.Fee.

    I think I'm still sorting through my thoughts, and no longer need a second response from you (or anyone). Thank you for your offer, though! I appreciate it.

    Have a great evening.

    Expert:  DrFee replied 4 years ago.

    Ok, you too and take good care.

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