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Anyone know the general rule for gift-giving to a therapist?  I know that in my field we're only allowed to accept if it's of a small monetary value.  I'd only be spending a small amount, so that sort of restriction wouldn't be a problem, but I wasn't sure if there were more when it came to therapists.

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Just ask. Therapists tend to have pretty idiosyncratic policies, beyond that gifts of substantial value are always a no. Some therapists have a no gifts policy and some will accept nominal value gifts. Almost all accept cards. 

Most professional organizations for therapists stipulate nominal value only but there are definitely some therapists with a no gift policy. 

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Posted (edited)

@dancesintherain

I gave my therapist a homemade gift (a crocheted baby hat) before she went on maternity leave. Maybe something homemade would be an option if you are feeling crafty? Even a homemade card with scrapbook paper? You can buy individual sheets of that stuff and get some goodies (like scrapbook stickers or rhinestones or what have you) to put on it. That way you could write your own personalized heartfelt message in the card. 

Edited by Wonderful.Cheese

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I avoided giving any gifts. I’m an over-gifter, or was, and it can affect people’s attitudes sometimes and not always in a good way. Since I didn’t want to mess up a therapeutic relationship I was super careful to avoid gifts. But that’s me with my history. I’d ask. It would be awkward to offer a gift and have it refused. I would think a card would be ok. 

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2 hours ago, mellifluous said:

i've never given a gift. i hadn't even considered it... : o

Same with me.

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Thanks everyone.  I hadn’t really thought of buying one before, but I’d like to this time if it’s allowed.  In particular I’d love to get a chain mail dragon (Etsy has one) because her analogy for trauma work was like tugging on chain mail (you try to isolate one but it inevitably tugs at a different area also) and she shares my love of dragons.  I’ll see what’s permitted.  I’m not the most craftsy, so I’m not sure that will work, though I like the idea.

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My tdoc and I have given each other gifts over the years.  A small vase with flowers, glass insulator, plant seeds, tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden.  Just small stuff.  She recently gave me a tiny dragon she got in Mexico to give to my honey for his birthday.

My pdoc has a painting on his office wall given to him by a former patient.

I think our docs recognize the significance of a gift to them.  Even just a home-grown tomato.

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thanks shimmeree.  I ended up giving her the chain mail dragon.  her comment was something like "oooh, one of my metaphors helped!"

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No problem giving veggies or fruit from the garden...  I don't even consider that a gift - it's just giving away surplus food.

In the past, I've given pertinent books, bibelot that fits in with office decor, even gave one a small petit point I made.  Never had any of them reject or seem uncomfortable with gifts, but also, based on our interaction, I was confident that there wouldn't be a problem.  I guess it depends on the therapist and the type of interaction you have with them.  I would never give something like jewelry, even hand-made, or clothing...  too personal.

YMMV 

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thanks @shimmeree.  She was comfortable receiving the chain mail dragon.  I didn't know how it would go, but figured I could always try and then get turned down.

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