It’s hard not to feel affection for someone who helps you through difficult times — like your therapist. When your therapist’s birthday or a holiday comes around, you may want to give that person a gift to express your gratitude.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Best Birthday or Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Therapist
- DIY or Homemade Gifts for Your Therapist
- Practical Gifts for Therapist or Counselor
Giving a gift may seem like a natural instinct but there are tricky etiquette and ethics rules involved. This is especially true for expensive gifts.
Ask your therapist about their gift policies. This is one of those occasions where a high price tag isn’t necessary. Read on for some suggestions for appropriate gifts for your therapist.
Best Birthday or Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Therapist
Holiday gifts can be perfectly appropriate for your therapist, depending on the holiday in question. A gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa? Totally fine. A Valentine’s gift? It may not be appropriate. Birthday gifts can also be appreciated. Here are some excellent gift ideas.
Food is a universal gift that’s appropriate for so many occasions. If you know your therapist is having a birthday, bring them a cupcake from a nice local bakery.
It’s a thoughtful gesture that won’t break the bank. If you love to bake during the holidays, you can bring a tin of homemade Christmas cookies. If you’re not as talented in the kitchen, a small box of nice chocolates or a modest fruit basket is a great gift as well.
2. Coffee-themed gifts
Does your therapist always seem to have a cup of coffee at the ready? There are several thoughtful gifts you could purchase. Get them a gift card from their preferred store.
They may brew their own coffee so a bag of nice coffee beans is a thoughtful option. You can also get them a reusable travel coffee cup. None of these gifts cost a lot but prove that you pay attention to your therapist’s interests.
3. Potted plant
Flowers are a pretty common gift for holidays and birthdays. A potted plant has more longevity. Not sure if your therapist has a green thumb?
4. Tea assortment
Listening to other people’s issues all day can take a toll on even the most resilient therapist. Many therapists set aside time for themselves to unwind at the end of the day.
Help your therapist relax by giving them an assortment of teas. Tea is available in all flavors at most grocery stores. Just pick out a custom assortment and put them in a basket.
Many therapists have tons of books on counseling and grief. Help your therapist out by choosing some special bookends. Agate bookends offer a natural touch that’s elegant and eye-catching.
DIY or Homemade Gifts for Your Therapist
Therapists generally won’t accept extravagant gifts. Why not make something instead? Handmade gifts are incredibly personal and thoughtful. Here are some ideas.
If you have artistic tendencies, craft something especially for your therapist in your preferred medium. If you have pottery experience, make them a lovely bowl.
If you’re a painter, paint them a small canvas. Not artistically skilled? Look into paint pouring. Anyone can make a beautiful abstract painting. Paint pouring can be very meditative and therapeutic, too.
7. Self-care booklet
Has your therapist helped you make a lot of breakthroughs? Make a little booklet of all the lessons you’ve learned.
You can illustrate it if you have those skills or create it on a computer and use pictures. This is a great gift if you’re concluding therapy and want to share how far you’ve come on your journey.
8. Thank-you letter
Being a therapist can often be thankless work. A simple handwritten note of appreciation is a thoughtful and welcome gift.
9. Cross stitch
When you spend enough time in therapy, certain phrases may come up a lot. Some therapists encourage you to come up with positive affirmations to help you deal with anxiety and build confidence.
If you have words that have meant a lot in your therapeutic process, you can create a cross-stitch of them for your therapist. It’s a nice way to show what your therapist’s words have meant to you.
10. Embroidered handkerchiefs
Therapy can unleash a lot of complicated feelings and emotions and patients will be brought to tears. Get basic cotton handkerchiefs and write comforting messages on them like, “Breathe deeply,” in water-soluble marker.
Then embroider that message using your handwriting as a guide. Give a little bundle of these to your therapist. It’s a thoughtful gift with eco-friendly benefits because clients won’t need to use tissues.
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Practical Gifts for Therapist or Counselor
Therapists often appreciate something a little more practical. If you’re worried about being emotional with your gift, a practical gift can feel like a better option.
11. Throw blanket
Medical offices always seem to be incredibly cold. If you’ve found yourself shivering during therapy, bring in a soft blanket for your therapist’s office.
Many therapists have a couch or cozy chairs in their offices. You can tell them they’re welcome to leave it in the office for other patients to use if they’re cold or if they need a little comfort.
12. Personalized hourglass
When you’re really getting into a therapy session, it can feel distracting to keep checking the clock to see how much time you have left.
An hourglass can give patients a visual representation of how much time they have left. Order an hourglass that’s engraved with your therapist’s name to give it some additional personalization.
13. Miniature toolkit
Your therapist is trying to give you the tools you need to cope with certain situations. Giving your therapist a mini toolkit serves two purposes.
First, it’s useful. Second, it helps you express your gratitude in a lighthearted way. You can tell your therapist you appreciate the tools they have given you and you want to return the favor.
14. Aromatherapy candle
Many therapists essential oils and scented candles to create a soothing environment in their offices. Pay attention to the scents they usually favor and get a candle with a scent in the same family. It’s the perfect blend of thoughtful and practical.
Therapists often take copious notes during sessions. If yours is one of them, consider getting some nice notebooks for them to write in. They may prefer to keep using legal pads for in-office note-taking but could find a use for it at home.
Appropriate ‘Thank You’ or Holiday Gift Ideas for Therapists
Under certain circumstances, you can give a gift to your therapist. Just remember not to go too overboard. Instead of spending a lot of money for something flashy, select something thoughtful and personalized like brand-new books on grief you like.
You can show your gratitude in an appropriate way. If you’re still uncertain whether your therapist will accept a gift, hold off on giving it until the end of your therapeutic relationship. This can help avoid any tricky ethical entanglements.
- “2014 ACA Code of Ethics.” Ethics.iit.edu, American Counseling Association, 2014, ethics.iit.edu/ecodes/ACA2014.pdf.