top of page
  • carla4129

The Holidays are Coming...

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

The weather is finally warming up and many of us are beginning to think about some well-deserved holidays. This summer feels particularly important because for the first time in a few years travelling has more or less gone back to ‘normal’. We are able to go abroad without filling out endless forms, PCR tests and no longer need to feel so uncertain of whether or not we will be able to go!

In therapy holidays can be a sticky subject for many reasons: emotional, practical and financial. In this article I will try and look at a few of these reasons from a therapists prospective hoping to give you a sense of how and why holidays can be difficult but also an opportunity for growth.

Both clients and therapists have the right to holidays however how these are negotiated can differ hugely (as I have often mentioned all therapists work differently and this can be confusing).

It is common practice for every therapist to hand out a contract outlining how they work before a therapeutic relationship begins. The contract should include how holidays are managed.

In my experience therapists tend to take a longer break from work during the summer, they are encouraged during their training to practice self-care and take a holiday of at least two weeks. Often the therapist will give you as much notice as possible before their time off. This is done for both practical and emotional reasons. Time and warning gives the therapeutic relationship a chance to work through any difficulties before the break takes place.

On a practical level, if the therapist takes the holiday, there is no charge for the client. However, if the client decided to take a holiday and the dates do not coincide with those of the therapist, then the therapist will often charge for the session.

This can feel unfair. However, please remind yourself that the therapist is there holding your slot even if you are not there. My supervisor once gave me an example that I found helpful. Imagine renting a flat, when you go on holiday you still pay your rent because no one else can move in whilst you are away. In therapy it is not dissimilar. Your therapist cannot fill your slot when you are away. It is also worth remembering that the therapist will still have to cover their overheads (room, membership, supervision, insurance, etc…) even if you are on holiday. Payment is part of the commitment required in therapy.

In my practice where possible I hope to offer my clients an alternative slot (depending on my availability) so that they do not lose a session. However if the client is unable to accommodate or make the offered slot the client may lose the session.

Holidays can be emotionally challenging for clients because it often means having a longer break from therapy. This can trigger emotions of abandonment, not feeling supported, it can leave clients feeling anxious and they may wonder how they are going to manage without their weekly session. If this is a concern I would encourage you to talk to your therapist about your feelings so that you have an opportunity to brainstorm together. Through dialogue with your therapist, you might think of some coping mechanisms, your therapist might provide some helplines that you can call, or a list of appropriate charities or colleagues that may be available to support you in the therapists absence.

Although for some breaks in therapy can be emotionally difficult, for others it may be a relief. Psychotherapy can be a testing experience and not having to have a session for a few weeks can be a welcome break. In therapy we spend a lot of time thinking, talking, feeling and trying to better understand ourselves. Not doing this for a few weeks can provide a bit of respite.

In my experience, breaks from therapy can be very valuable. They can be a way of gaining some perspective, what is it like not to be in therapy? Through a break we can realise that we can be self-sufficient and do not need to be dependent on our therapist. It can furthermore be a tool to help us create a support network or make the most of the one we have.

It feels important to me, to try and promote breaks as part of the therapy. Time apart from your therapist could be a way of improving the work. Through noticing how we experience not seeing our therapist, we can learn about ourselves. This time can be used productively and be a part of our ongoing therapeutic journey.

I hope this brief article has helped you gain some insight into breaks and some of the challenges that we face through them. I would, as always love to hear from you and your experiences of holidays and breaks in therapy. Please also keep in mind that in this article I have spoken of my experience but please talk to your therapist about holidays and breaks, we all work differently.

19 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Imposter Syndrome

This month’s blog is on imposter syndrome, something I have noticed to be experienced and spoken about by many. So, what is it? What does it mean? What are its pros and cons and how can we learn from


bottom of page