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Summer Therapy

I work with many kids and families in private practice, and initially, I thought summers would be more relaxed for me as a result. It turns out that's not the case. Many people take summers off or choose to reduce the number of sessions. Many more choose to start therapy or set up goals that lead to focused effort in treatment in the summer. Here are the general trends I see for therapy during the summer.


Taking a break


Many clients choose to take a break from therapy. In this way, treatment can look like school or work in that the summer is a time to relax and take a step back. Most people report they want more flexibility to travel or try something different, even if they have more free time. Some people like to reward themselves for hard work and take on a simpler schedule with fewer cares. Clients can choose summer to be done with therapy, take a 3-month break from treatment with the intent of starting back up when the school year begins or reduce sessions to a monthly "maintenance" mode.


Starting therapy


I traditionally get a lot of new clients in May and June. I think people see the end of the school year as an opportunity to work on issues that have come up over the school year or as a way to prepare for the next school year. Also, because kids aren't in school during the day, sometimes this is a chance to get into therapy after being on a waiting list. Indeed, most therapists I talk to have openings during the day and can only fill them in the summer.


Doubling down


Some interventions in therapy take effort and focus, and the summer is a great time to intensify efforts in treatment. This choice shouldn't be surprising, though, because we do this all the time. There are summer reading challenges for kids. People often take the spring to diet and exercise to look good at the beach. I have also heard of school teachers putting off medical care until the summer, so they have time to recover without missing work. Why not work on a specific mental health issue in the summer?


Whether you take a break, start therapy, or focus your efforts on treatment over the summer, consult your therapist for advice and develop a plan together. There is no one correct answer for everyone, but they're certainly options.

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