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Page Contents: When your old psychotherapist continues to call you after termination of the psychotherapy.                    

 

What do I do about a psychotherapist who passed me on to another psychotherapist because he felt he didn’t have the experience to help me (after seven months together) and yet continues to contact me? It’s been three years and he still calls. I had contacted his supervisor for help and he not only didn’t follow the instructions we were both given, he has since quit that practice and has continued to call. My spouse refuses to change and unlist our phone number, and I have been told by my current psychotherapist to screen my calls. I hate where I am in all of this and I am torn between really hating what my first psychotherapist is doing and a feeling of really being cared for. Now he is constantly on my mind. What is going on, and what sort of responsible action do I need take to move beyond all of this? This is taking up so much of my time and I have allowed it to keep me from focusing on the work I have to do to grow myself up.

 
Congratulations for understanding that this matter requires responsible action on your part. After all, one of the benefits of psychotherapy is learning that no matter what happens to you, you cannot control the behavior of someone else and that you and you alone have the responsibility to cope with what is happening. Even your husband has recognized this by refusing to change your telephone number.

In a matter such as this (when the psychotherapist has a supervisor), the appropriate first step would be to do just what you did do: contact his supervisor.

If his behavior continues, the next step would be to warn him directly that if he doesn’t stop calling you, you will report him to his licensing board.

If his behaviour continues after your warning, the third step would be to tell him that he has just crossed a line, that you will report him to his licensing board, and that you refuse to talk to him. Keeping in mind that you will be feeling violated and angry, refuse to act with hatred and hang up politely. Then report him to his licensing board.

If his behaviour continues after your reporting him, the fourth step would be to report him to the police and let them take it from there.

Finally, regardless of how many of the steps you have to negotiate, use your current psychotherapy to process both the negative thoughts and feelings and the positive thoughts and feelings about the ongoing matter. Moreover, take comfort, because the effort you put into this annoying matter is actually helping you to “grow yourself up.”

 


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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