30 Gifts For Your Therapist (& Other People Who Keep You Zen)

Maybe you’ve been going to therapy for years. Or maybe you first found yourself in a therapist’s office circa, oh, I don’t know, let’s just say November 9, 2016. Either way, I’m of the belief that anyone can benefit from having an unbiased professional who allows you to air your grievances in a safe space, without taking sides or making assumptions, and talk that shit out.

My therapist has been nothing short of a superhero for me, talking me through everything from breakups to panic attacks to an open relationship to a family member’s suicide attempt to a super rough — and not-exactly-planned — pregnancy. I think she deserves an all-expenses paid vacation for her holiday gift, honestly. But probably not from me. So I'm looking for something small, yet still nice enough for her to get the message that I'd be lost without her.

But, you ask, isn’t gift-giving, like, totally unethical within the therapist-patient relationship? Not necessarily. “The theories behind the ‘don’t give your therapist a gift’ idea vary from setting to setting, and among the theories of psychotherapy,” explains therapist Leslie Rosenberg, LMSW. “Certainly in [some settings, say if you're working with a therapist who practices psychodynamic theory] it is very discouraged, but this approach is less common these days. At times, I think it can be important to accept a patient’s gift, in terms of the relationship. And across the board, I’ve never heard of anyone discouraging cards or notes of gratitude, and those mean the world to me when I receive them.”

So maybe hold off on the jewelry, or expensive tech — but even The National Psychologist concurs that small, inexpensive, and symbolic gifts and cards can be appropriate.

Of course, you have absolutely no obligation to get your therapist a gift at all. But if, like me, you’re looking for a token of appreciation that’s not too much, look no further. We put together a whole list of therapist-friendly gift ideas. On top of that, we included items appropriate for all those pseudo-therapists in your life — the family, friends, and professionals who help you stay chill, zen, and, you know, at least somewhat functioning. There’s something for all the healers, teachers, and helpers ahead.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
For Your Actual Therapist
I repeat: You absolutely do not need to get your psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other counselor a holiday gift. But maybe, within the context of your relationship, you feel like it just makes sense. Maybe it’s a simple note of gratitude, or a “you helped me stay sober this holiday season” token. Or maybe, perhaps, you go into labor on Christmas Day and feel like a small “thanks for letting me cry on your couch/puke in your bathroom for nine months” gift is in order. (I told you my therapist deserves a vacation.)

All that caring for others can get exhausting. A copy of this adorable handmade self-care zine will help your therapist remember to take care of herself for once.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hello Lucky.
When one (hand) gesture of thanks just isn’t enough, this blank greeting card will give you a place to explain how thankful you are.
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Photo: Courtesy of Target
An elephant never forgets, and neither does your therapist. Thank him with this chic ceramic item he can keep on his desk.
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Photo: Courtesy of West Elm.
A bookend to corral all those medical tomes and/or stress-busting adult coloring books.
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Photo: Courtesy of Twig Terrariums.
It’s a step up from a $3 succulent, but many steps down from a (definitely creepy?) bouquet of flowers.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nervous System.
A jigsaw of the brain for the person who deals with the jigsaw of your brain. Or something.
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Photo: Courtesy of Uncommon Goods.
For The Person Who Gets You Off Your Couch
Your mind does not exist (or stay healthy) in a vacuum. And while science has proven the plentiful benefits of Netflix-and-chill-ing (probably?), the brave soul who eventually motivates you to strap on your sneakers is a saint indeed. Here are some gift ideas for your trainer, your favorite yoga teacher pal, your running buddy, and the like.

“Garudasana Pose, Not Guns” is a bumper sticker slogan I just made up, but if it were to exist on an actual bumper sticker, your yoga teacher would probably love it. They’ll love these, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
These adorable leggings are right at home in class, on a hike, and/or on that couch we were talking about.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
You sure can! Just think of that Turkey Trot you ran-walked last month!
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
Who doesn’t need a little tattooed neon Band-Aid reminder that says “You got this”?
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Photo: Courtesy of The Faucet Face.
Easy, functional, affordable, gets the job done — this water bottle is the tap water of water bottles. No need to spend $50 on a bottle with bling.
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Photo: Courtesy of Imm Bassador.
After you’ve worked out and hydrated, it’s time to crack one open.
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Photo: Courtesy of Urban Outfitters.
For That Wacky But Actually Super Helpful Alternative Healer Person
Remember when everybody just had, like, a Family Doctor who took care of absolutely every aspect of physical, mental, and maybe even spiritual health for every member of the family from birth to death? Neither do I, but that seemed to be the case on Downton Abbey so I'm guessing it used to happen. These days, though, it takes a village, and often, half of that village attended the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Here are some gifts for the massage therapist/acupuncturist/naturopath/reiki master/tarot reader you were maybe once skeptical of, but who has since made you a believer.

If they don’t already have a deck, it’s time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Strange Ways.
Well, aren't they?
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
Because astrologists need to wrap presents, too.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
For all those kombucha cocktails at her next New Moon gathering.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
Stars and rainbows are mightier than the sword.
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Photo: Courtesy of Earth House Oils.
This tea, incense, and oil combo is supposed to “remove any built-up negativity accumulated from the last moon cycle.” And boy was that last moon cycle a doozy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Target.
For The Person Who Lessens Your “Life Tasks” Load
Sometimes mental health magic comes from unexpected places. Maybe these people aren't involving you in cognitive behavioral therapy, helping you meditate, or cleansing your aura, but isn't that intern on your team doing a ton of tasks you would otherwise be doomed to do? Or maybe you employ a nanny, a cleaner, or a dog-walker. Maybe you have a sister-in-law who always fixes shit around your house. Sure, you could learn to wield a hammer. Sure, you could leave work early for every single day care pickup and dog-poo pickup — or, you could accept the help of these lovely and talented people. And, of course, thank them accordingly.

For all those extra keys/cards/times she needs to let herself into your house.
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Photo: Courtesy of Grown Alchemist.
Having dogs and babies requires a lot of hand washing, as does life in general. If your helper’s hands are “damaged by oxidative stress,” this is just the ticket.
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Photo: Courtesy of Lemonee on the Hills.
I imagine interns in this day and age run around furiously taking notes on extremely hipster clipboards. No? Oh well; it’s pretty.
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Photo: Courtesy of Eastern Collective.
Your neighbors got an extra pizza delivered by accident and gave it to you? Your niece came over to jiggle your TV with her magic hands and make it work again? There’s a tiny plant for every tiny “thank you.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Tegu.
Every child-care professional (or favorite aunt/uncle) needs a gadget that’s entertaining for kiddos and oddly relaxing for adults.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ban.do.
Because aren’t you always marveling at how he manages to get everything done?
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Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
For Your Creative Inspiration
Art can be great for your mental health — and your general level of chill. So here are some artsy items for the person who keeps your idea factory functioning — whether that's your "muse," your poetry professor, your weird (in the best way) pottery teacher, your writing-group buddy, or your go-to date for "Sips & Strokes" nights (which despite sounding like a sex party is actually a wine-and-painting party. Who knew?)

Remember what I said about medical tomes and adult coloring books? One of those things is way more fun (and artistic) than the other.
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Photo: Courtesy of Target.
“But how will they color that entire adult coloring book??” you ask.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pen & Pistol.
Speaking of creativity helping mental health, this artisan learned his craft while in prison and started a business. What have you accomplished lately?
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Photo: Courtesy of
For that ever-growing “how to fuck shit up and change the world” to-do list.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
Sharon Dolin’s fierce poems are the perfect creative catharsis for getting through any breakup — including, I would argue, the breakup of a nation.
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Photo: Courtesy of Etsy.
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