It’s a new year, and many of us will use the beginning of 2019 to take stock of our lives and set forth plans for enrichment and improvement. In many cases, these plans involve outside assistance — perhaps in the form of a therapist.
But if you have a full-time work schedule, an active social life, and myriad other commitments, it can be tough to wedge regular therapy appointments into your jam-packed agenda. If you’re committed to fitting therapy into your work week, we have 3 suggestions to ease that transition:
1. Seek out therapists with flexible appointment schedules or weekend availability.
For employees with a Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm work schedule, evening therapy appointments can be a simple solution to the availability problem. If you find a therapist through referral or through a listing search on Psychology Today, feel free to ask the reception desk whether their therapists schedule evening or weekend appointments. Even if customer-facing online scheduling only shows appointments during business hours, explaining your situation to the office may earn you the inside scoop on after-hours time slots. It never hurts to ask! Also, some therapist search engines like GoodTherapy will allow you to filter listings to specifically find therapists who accept evening and weekend appointments. If your unpredictable work schedule makes a regular appointment impossible, consider virtual, phone, or online therapy.
2. Consider a therapist near your office for lunch-break sessions.
If you’re having trouble finding a therapist with available appointments outside of regular work hours, a lunch-break session may be a viable option. While some therapy patients prefer to avoid midday appointments that interrupt the flow of their work schedules, others find peace and clarity from the ability to step outside the office for an hour and focus on themselves and their own mental and emotional health. If you’re considering a standing lunch-break therapy appointment, seek out therapists within a close distance to your office; the stress that comes with jaunting across town during the work day and potentially confronting traffic or mass-transit issues on the way back may partially cancel out the beneficial work done during your session. Also, if you’re scheduling appointments during the work day, be sure to inform your therapist of the situation so that she can focus her treatment to fit the time frame you’ve made available.
3. If necessary, communicate with your boss to work out a schedule that allows time for therapy.
Depending on your relationship with your boss and your company culture, it might be helpful to address your interest in and need for therapy with your supervisor if you find your work schedule impeding your ability to schedule regular appointments.
There’s no need to go into detail, but a simple question like “I’d like to begin a regular therapy regimen (or even ‘a regular medical regimen’, if you’d prefer to keep things vague) with weekly appointments, but my current schedule is making that difficult. Would it be possible to adjust my schedule to allow for this?” can work in your favor.
Also, keep in mind that the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act do offer protections for individuals facing workplace resistance to their mental health treatments. If your boss is really setting up insurmountable blockades to your plans to seek therapy, read up on these laws and educate yourself on your rights.