Therapists: It’s Okay to Take a Vacation

Great Lakes Psychology Group
Chelsea Buzzitta, MA, LLP

Chelsea Buzzitta, MA, LLP

Chelsea Buzzitta is a Master’s level Limited Licensed Psychologist.

There’s been a surge in demand for therapy services, leaving many providers feeling overworked and overwhelmed. We’ve talked previously about the importance of self-care for therapists as well as preventing burnout

Now let’s discuss an important aspect of healthy self-care: taking vacations. Specifically, why it’s okay to do so and how to go about it. 

Here are 3 tips for planning your next vacation:

1. Give yourself permission to get away

Breaks are important. Not just as a means to the end of better productivity upon return, but also for their own sake: vacations are enjoyable, they promote rest, relaxation, and fun. Taking a vacation can help you re-connect to aspects of yourself outside of your profession; there is more to who you are than your work as a therapist.

Some therapists may hesitate to take vacations out of concern for their clients. But keep in mind that if you are modeling healthy boundaries the rest of the time, it won’t come as a surprise to your clients when you tell them you’ll be away. In fact, your healthy self-care can set an important example for your clients and inspire them to take a vacation as well.

Most clients will be tolerant of your decision to take a break. If they’re not, this is important clinical information that should be worked through in therapy.

2. Give your clients notice

By giving your clients plenty of notice of your absence, you’re allowing them time to plan accordingly and you’ll also have time to process any reactions they may have to your planned absence.

For a short break, say a week or two, it’s probably best to give your clients at least two weeks’ notice, but at least four weeks may be ideal.

It’s okay to tell your clients matter-of-factly that you’ll be out of the office and give them the date or dates you’ll need to cancel. There’s no need to apologize or give any kind of explanation for your planned absence. 

3. Set clear expectations for while you’re away

Talk to your clients about what to do if they need anything while you’re away. If you’d prefer to be able to disconnect from your devices while you’re on vacation, it will be a good idea to ask a trusted colleague to be on call for you. Otherwise, you’ll be on call, and it’s not really a vacation if you’re on call. 

Talking to each of your clients about a care plan, especially those who may be higher risk, will be important for their safety as well as your peace of mind. Remind your clients that they should go to the emergency room or call 911 if they are having a mental health emergency. Give them the contact info for your colleague(s) who will be covering for you and trust that they’ve got it covered.

Learn more about a career with Great Lakes Psychology Group here.

Chelsea Buzzitta, MA, LLP

Chelsea Buzzitta, MA, LLP

Chelsea Buzzitta completed her education and training in clinical psychology at Michigan State University (B.S., M.A.), and she has had additional training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT). Chelsea works collaboratively with children, adolescents, adults, and couples facing a wide range of difficulties.

Join Our Network

No Credentialing. No Marketing. No Billing.
You provide the care, we provide the rest.

Get Started
Join our network