I am able to afford therapy because I receive it at a teaching hospital. They offer reduced rates. The down side is that as the interns complete their course work and other requirements, they move on. That is what is happening now.
Dr. K has finished her internship, completed whatever papers she needed to write, and will have her last session with me next week. She has worked with me for two years. These have been difficult years, during which I have benefited greatly from the therapy and from my efforts to heal. Unfortunately, I am not finished. I am greatly improved from where I was two years ago, but I am not yet able to do without some help.
I will miss Dr. K. She and I worked well together. We had a few early skirmishes about my desire not to be medicated. Aside from that we did good work.
It’s difficult to explain the relationship one may have with a therapist. The relationship is very intimate, but one-sided. I share my secrets with her; she does not (and ought not) reciprocate. In some ways she is like a parent to me, a guide or mentor or teacher. In other ways, she is like a confessor hearing my secrets. I’ve shared things with her that I might never share with another person, not even a lover. She earned my trust and my vulnerability. And now she’s leaving.
I’ve known from the beginning that she’d leave, known why and when she would leave. Even so that didn’t shield me from the pain, any more than knowing a loved one will die protects you when it happens. This feels like someone dying; and yet, it also feels like a lover leaving me. I have been incredibly blessed to know Dr. K. I have found strength and healing from knowing her, grown tremendously. My life is enriched.
In a few weeks there will be someone new. Maybe I’ll work as well with this new therapist as I did with Dr. K. Time will tell. In the meantime, my sadness at her leaving is nearly overwhelming.