Handling the Death of a Therapist

Susan from New York writes: My therapist died suddenly on Aug. 18.  I miss him so so so much because I used him for 22 years. Any suggestions on how to make myself feel better? I am so deeply saddened.

Dr. Gloria Horsley responds:

Dear Susan,

I am truly sorry to hear of the death of your therapist.  We sometimes forget that our therapists are only too human.  I too lost a therapist many years ago.  My therapist was guilty of malpractice but nevertheless, no longer being able to see him was a blow to me.  I felt that I had lost my best friend and confidant.  Not seeing him weekly for a listening ear and unconditional acceptance was a profound loss.

Over time, I came to realize that with his help I had come to terms with many issues in my life and was thus a much stronger and wiser person than I had imagined.  Give yourself time, have patience, and realize that after 22 years, you have had the best of your therapist’s help and experience.  You honor your therapist by going on and being the person that you are today. Continue to reach out to friends, family, and your extended community for support and comfort during this time of loss.

Dr. Gloria

Gloria Horsley

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Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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