Life in a Bind – BPD and me

My therapy journey, recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I write for , for Planet Mindful magazine, and for Muse Magazine Australia, under the name Clara Bridges. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by

How your therapist signs their emails.


I love this post because I haven’t seen any other blog posts about this subject, and it describes exactly how I feel! I’d be interested in knowing how many others feel the same way, and whether you have raised it with your therapist. For me, email sign-offs came up as an issue very early on with my current therapist. My ex-therapist would never have emailed between sessions and so it wasn’t a topic that we discussed. However, the very first time my current therapist sent me an email, the use of ‘Best wishes’ at the end, really grated. At the very next session I said that I hoped it was okay, but that I couldn’t sign my own emails in that way, because I felt it was far too formal for the kind of relationship that I hoped therapy would be. I didn’t ask her to change the way she signed her own emails, but from the next message she sent me, ‘Best wishes’ had gone!

The comments at the end of this post show that there are a variety of opinions on the way that individuals prefer their therapists to end emails. Some find consistency to be absolutely key, so that there is no temptation to ‘read something’ into different end phrases. Others appreciate small variations particularly when used to highlight care or support at more difficult times. My own therapist varies her email sign-offs, mostly, I believe, without any specific intention. However, there are times when it seems clear that she has used a particular word or phrase for a reason – for example, she uses ‘take care’ rarely, but when she does, it is always in response to emails and times when I have been in much more distress than usual. At other times, her sign-offs vary from simply her first initial, to her name, to ‘see you next week’, to ‘until tomorrow’, to ‘looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday’. Her use of ‘looking forward to seeing you’ is also very important to me, as it’s often easy for me to fall into the temptation of thinking that she doesn’t really want to see me three times a week, or that she finds our sessions difficult or uninteresting.

If you are in contact in between sessions, how does your own therapist end their emails? Is this something you pay attention to or that bothers you? And if so, have you addressed this with them, and what has the outcome been? I would love to hear from you!


16 thoughts on “How your therapist signs their emails.

  1. For what it is worth (maybe not much) I never thought about his until your introduction above. Perhaps it is because I tried to have phone conversations rather than use email, in part to keep the number of emails manageable. But, to the question, I imagine any decent therapist will adapt to your wishes on this point, so long as the suggestions remain appropriate (as I know they would from you).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you 🙂 I must admit to sometimes signing mine with ‘love’ and mostly now with a kiss ‘x’ (I know, soppy, right?). But I would NEVER expect or ask her to do anything remotely similar! So yes, it seems like a good suggestion to raise this and to see if therapist is happy to adapt to a ‘sensible’ suggestion 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mine types Best and then her name. Best what? I hate it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This essay and the introduction to it have been informative to me, even if a little late (since I am retired). I knew very well that many people observed me with great care and that some were easily injured by what I said, what I didn’t say, or how I looked to them. I wonder about the extent to which I (and other therapists) need to be at least a little inured to this in order to get our job done. I don’t mean to toss this off lightly. What I’m getting at is that the degree of self-scrutiny by a therapist required to precisely weigh and measure every written and spoken word, every shift in the chair, every facial expression, would make it impossible to also consider all the patient has said, what response he needs at the moment, what strategy to use in his treatment, etc. The question I’m raising is whether at some point the therapist has to unconsciously set a limit on the incoming data and his response in order to be a good therapist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Will reply more later – about to go into session – but this sounds like a post coming on, Dr Stein? 😉


      • Yes, to some extent, but I hope much more generally applicable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think any therapist can or should try to pre-empt every movement or gesture of each client, i doubt that’s possible anyway. What is important is that the therapist is open to hearing a clients discomfort over something they do or have said etc and being curious about it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’m so glad this has been informative and having read your comment on Sirena’s blog, I am super excited that you will be writing a post and can’t wait to read it 🙂
        I think you’re absolutely right that there is a limit to how much a therapist could or should, pay attention to every way in which something could be construed and miscontrued by the patient – I can imagine it would be paralysing. And I think there is an immensely valuable lesson for the patient to learn to adapt to the therapist’s spontaneity and ‘human-ness’ and to sit with the risk that their therapist may not always say the ideal or desired thing, or that thing that causes least upset. And when the therapist’s response may be upsetting because it is not absolutely carefully and meticulously weighed, there is a lesson in forgiveness, acceptance and realising that it was not intentional, the therapist is still ‘good’ and views the patient as ‘good’ and that is not possible to control everyone’s reactions towards us. Sometimes the therapist may, of course, make a mistake and say something which really is inadvisable or perhaps should not have been said. In which case, the process of apologising, talking it through etc, are very valuable in themselves, and show that resolution of difficulties is possible, and it does not mean an irreparable dent in the relationship.
        As you may be able to tell,this is is all the very very recent stuff of my own therapy and the last two weeks have been incredibly tumultuous in this regard……!
        REALLY looking forward to your post!


      • I hope your recent session(s) have been productive, if tumultuous. I’ll be posting the essay response to you and Sirena tonight. Those for taking the role of a muse!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very pleased to have been your muse 🙂


    • Thanks so much for your comment and many apologies for my delay in replying. I can really sympathise with how you feel about this – even with more ‘formal’ endings, we all have our preferences and feel that some are better than others! If you feel at all able to, I would encourage you to raise it in session – not necessarily with a view to her making a change – though hopefully she might be open to ending her emails differently. But it would give you an opportunity to discuss why this is difficult and talk more about the therapy relationship. Having said that, I think we all do what we are ready for, in our own time! Thank you again for reading and commenting….


      • I know I’m about 7 years late to this party, and you all Taos great points. However I have been sitting here with this unsent client email for two hours, growing more more unsure of how to sign the damn thing by the moment. 🤦‍♀️


  3. With respect to Sirena’s comment, I did not mean the patient should be told he should not talk about something. What I meant was that he unconsciously limits his attention to some of the incoming data simply because it is impossible to attend to every last bit of it. Moreover, as I will describe in a blog post this evening, he will over scrutinize himself while he is trying to listen to you if he makes his first priority the possibility that his word choices will inadvertently injure you . If you wish him to be attentive to every word HE says, he will also begin to respond to you less spontaneously, slowing the therapy process, and missing much else of importance.


    • To clarify my response to Sirena, the limiting I’m talking about is by the therapist of his own attention, not by the patient, and not an effort by the therapist to censor the patient.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Why Your Therapist Will Say the Wrong Thing | Dr. Gerald Stein - Blogging About Psychotherapy from Chicago

  5. Pingback: Why Your Therapist Will Say the Wrong Thing | Life in a Bind - BPD and me

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