Can I Give My Psychologist a Holiday Gift or Card?
December 10, 2011 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Is it okay to give my therapist/psychologist a holiday gift and/or card?
posted by tmharris65 to Human Relations (10 answers total)
Yes, a card or small "token" gift is fine. At least I always appreciated it. I know some therapists see it as a breach/transgression of the therapeutic relationship--I just saw it as the person being thoughtful. No more no less and not in anyway a judgement of the person who does not give cards/gifts. However, one should not expect a gift or card in return.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:26 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Card: Yes, absolutely. I've given a card before thanking my therapist for all of her work, and telling her how much it meant to me, and she thanked me and told me she really appreciated it. I would encourage you to give a card if that's something you are thinking of doing.

Gift: Personally, I wouldn't, but it would depend on your relationship and the gift. Something like a homemade jar of jam would almost certainly be okay - something like a high value gift certificate would probably be odd.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:28 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Back when I was in counseling, my counselor finished a graduate degree. I checked beforehand with other counselors, and they said it was fine for me to give them a "Happy Graduation" card.

I recommend that you keep the card lighthearted and, if you write an inscription, keep it brief & lighthearted. Perhaps something like "Thanks for your help." Too much more than that might come across as odd.
posted by AMSBoethius at 9:30 AM on December 10, 2011

I think a card is fine. I would feel awkward giving my therapist anything like a gift, but I have given him cards.
posted by sweetkid at 9:43 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Speaking as a therapist (but not yours), I need to ask, what do you wish to achieve by doing this? Whether or not it's OK depends largely on your answer, but in my opinion, a good therapist would try and make it feel OK to you.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could always ask ahead of time and talk about it, particularly if gift-giving is charged or emotionally "interesting" for you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:21 AM on December 10, 2011

I gave my therapist--and all of the reception staff--homemade Christmas ornaments when I was in therapy. Nobody acted like it was odd. I would have felt much weirder about giving something I bought, though.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 10:24 AM on December 10, 2011

Thanks for the responses.

To Obscure Reference: I don't wish to achieve anything. I simply wanted to say "thanks for your continued help" in some way other than writing a weekly check. :-)
posted by tmharris65 at 1:06 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I gave my best therapist ever a card and a small, not terribly expensive box of nice chocolates on her birthday; the chocolates were a riff on a funny conversation we had during a session where there was nothing terribly urgent I needed to discuss (and I'd forgotten to cancel, so I went). I had no subtext to it and she knew I didn't, so it was fine. But it depends a lot on your specific relationship.
posted by rtha at 2:44 PM on December 10, 2011

Communicating your appreciation is a perfectly fine "achievement." Some therapists would prefer the less ambiguous verbal expression of appreciation while others would be fine with the gift.
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:58 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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