We’re edging toward the month when many therapists close their practice – the ‘August break’ that has its roots in Freudian times when many Swiss and German professionals downed tools. I take time off too, because I need a good long break to replenish my batteries – self-care is as important as the care I hope to give all my clients. I take a holiday, enjoy a meditation retreat, read up on clinical practice and research and thoroughly clean my consulting room. Wherever there are people, there is dust. September heralds a fresh start for my practice, just as a new school year begins too.
But there’s another good reason for a lengthy break. If all goes well and your relationship with your therapist is an important one (which matters for much of the depth work therapy can do), the break is a chance to reflect upon how it feels without that weekly support. It may well activate difficult feelings of loss or abandonment, and these are feelings may tell you, and the therapist, much about wounds from the past. Therapy will always come to an end – ideally at an appropriate time, and not overdue – and August allows some to test this ending out. If the break doesn’t go well, this is painful but important grist for the mill on return. If all goes well, that’s good too.