What is the proper procedure if your child's therapist is leaving the practice to work elsewhere?
Generally speaking therapists are obligated to help their clients connect with a new therapist should they require ongoing support and the therapist is no longer able to continue working with them. This may simply mean that the therapist provides some names and numbers for other therapists or agencies that may be appropriate for your child.
If the therapist is leaving one practice for another and is able to continue seeing the client than that may be arranged and is often the most desired outcome for the sake continuity. Sometimes partners or employers in the original practice may expect and require clients of the practice to be transferred to another therapist within that practice instead of being taken to a new practice.
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I would recommend other providers who accept your insurance. Once you choose, I would ask you to complete a release of information so I could discuss your child's case and send records so that the new therapist is aware of the general treatment issues.
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This is a great question. There are several options when a therapist is transferring to a new practice. If the practice is in the same general area and the therapist does not have a non compete agreement they can let clients know where they are going. Generally if a therapist has a planned exit from an agency or practice they will inform their clients, and offer or provide transition sessions or suggest new therapist options. At times, unforeseen events arise and and there is no transition process with the therapist. While this situation is not ideal for any client, it does provide an opportunity to utilize learned coping strategies and resilience.
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There may be differences in Sate laws, and differences based on the particular license of the therapist, on this question so try googling your question for your State.
Generally, the therapist should have given you whatever the standard practice is for your State, notice in advance. And, the therapist was expected to tell you and write you their care plan for the child patient.
Are you the parent who is legally responsible for this child?
If not, then the therapist may have already communicated properly with whoever is the legal parent responsible for the child.
Also, insurance corporations who have contracts with particular therapists, have their own timeline standards of expecting therapists to give proper notice in advance of leaving a practice.
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Ask the therapist first. They will either tell you how to continue with them in the new job or give you a referral. They also will help your child with the transition.
If that fails, ask the agency where your child sees the therapist about next steps. There's an agency director or equivalent who will probably be happy to help you.
If that fails, and I hope it doesn't, consider finding a therapist on your own.
If the therapist is not helping or is behaving unethically, contact the state agency which issues the therapist's license for help and to let them know about your experience. That will protect the next parent.
Good luck. ~Mark (www.MarkMorrisLCSW.com and www.LivingYes.org)
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