It's so frustrating when you have booked a patient and they don't arrive. We all wish to avoid it, but it’s bound to happen to all of us. Many therapists feel conflicted about what to do. Some schools of thought feel that it is acceptable to call the patient during the missed session, while others feel that it is a boundary violation and better to wait and see what the patient does in the next session. Another question arises about whether or not to charge for your time. Whatever you choose to do it can still raise a lot of complicated feelings such as resentment and guilt, you may also feel hurt, disrespected or even relieved. Either way, it's never a simple issue and a nuanced and thoughtful approach is normally the best way to deal with it. Most psychologists attempt to manage this difficulty by having a clear and overt contract where cancellations and missed sessions are discussed in the first session.
Watch this short clip to see how CBT therapist Colinde Linde deals with this issue. She has some interesting ideas about how this might impact on the therapeutic alliance and some clear and practical ways to talk to your client about not arriving.
If you enjoy this clip, check out Colinda's full talk on anxiety here
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