I have recently had several people ask me if it is okay to email a therapist. The answer is:
1. It depends on the therapist.
2. It depends on what you need to communicate in the email.
Here is how I handle email as a therapist:
1. I enjoy using email to arrange appointments. Email is quick and often easier than phone calls. It can be difficult to return phone calls between sessions as a therapist. If you have a scheduling question or concern, I’ll get your email almost instantly (during business hours, I always have my Blackberry on).
2. I am very clear on the front end that some emailing is okay. I do not provide crisis services via email. If you email me on a Friday, I often will not see your email until Monday. If you want to send me some thoughts after therapy or give me a quick update, this is fine with me. Be aware that I may not respond to your email (we’ll save the conversation for session). I do not provide therapy via email.
3. If I notice a pattern of emails after session about major topics, I will talk with you about this during session. This may be a way for you to avoid face-to-face conversations, which is cause for clinical concern. If you’re avoiding conversations with me (and sending them via email later), you’re likely doing this in your life outside of therapy. We’ll work on it.
4. My cancellation policy always stands. If you do not call me within 24 hours of your session to cancel, you will still be charged your full session fee. Last minute email cancellations still result in being charged the session fee.
So… I hope this answers your question about whether or not it is okay to email your therapist. If I am your therapist, you should have a clearer picture now. If I am not your therapist, I encourage you to ask your therapist his/her preference, because we are all different.
Do you have other questions about emailing your therapist that I can answer?