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Should I tell my manager I'm in therapy?

Nurse Beth   (339 Views | 1 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 100 Articles; 233,857 Profile Views; 2,014 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am an RN considering NP school and looking to apply maybe in the next year or two. I've already discussed this with my supervisor and she is very supportive and and will work with me to adjust my schedule if I choose to go that route, which is great.

Recently, I decided to start therapy for anxiety and stress management (although it's been very overdue for probably a couple years). My anxiety is not debilitating, but it's enough to affect my day-to-day. And recently I had a particularly stressful workday where I was fighting back tears in front of multiple colleagues (and supervisor included). My question is- should I disclose my therapy to my supervisor? My fear is I don't want her to think I won't be able to handle the stress of grad school and work combined (would have to continue working while in school).

So would disclosing the therapy show her that I'm taking action to manage my stress? Or would she think that my therapy is an indication that maybe I can't handle the school on top of work? I understand I don't exactly need her permission to pursue school, but I do want her continued blessing and want to show her that I can do this. I don't want her to be concerned.

Dear Fearful,

Congrats on getting help for your anxiety. 

Whether or not you tell your manager you are in therapy is a highly personal decision, unless you asking for a work accommodation, which you are not, or if you are in discipline for stress-related behaviors.

In your case, you want to show her you are managing your stress, and once you practice some coping mechanisms, and learn to think differently,  your growth will be apparent.

The opinion of your manager is important but you are assigning her too much power and overthinking this. She will either adjust your schedule when the time comes, or she won't. So far, she said she will. 

Your anxiety is overly focused on what your manager thinks of you. In truth, she probably is not thinking about you as much as you believe. She has many employees and multiple issues on her plate.

Keep doing the work in therapy, and good luck to you.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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laflaca has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

353 Posts; 8,611 Profile Views

You received helpful advice above!  I would add this: my instinct is to be very conservative about disclosing any kind of mental health or medical information to a supervisor - unless you're asking for FMLA or some accommodation, as Nurse Beth said.

The benefits of disclosure are fuzzy and far in the future - possibly, she'll be more inclined to help you out in a year or two when your schedule might need to change.  

The possible risks of disclosure seem more immediate to me - she might not understand, she might view your work differently, she might say something insensitive, she might not keep the information totally confidential. 

She doesn't need to know, really, and I don't see any benefit to you in telling.  Work hard in therapy and get what you need!  Good luck :)

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