Time is a valuable resource. When counselors set out to work in their profession, they dedicate significant portions of their time to you: your well-being, healthy functioning, and healthy development are big motivators for why we do what we do. So when you set an appointment, whether as a new client or an ongoing client, we take the time to be available and present for you.
Not calling and not showing is not just reserved for absentee workers. Many counselors are familiar with the experience of booking a new client, or preparing work for an active client, only to have the minutes for the appointment tick by with no call or explanation from the client. This is often how clients may show resistance to treatment or possibly dislike of their counselor. While these in themselves are common to the counseling experience, not calling/not showing is often representative of a symptom for the reasons the client is in counseling in the first place. Or, the client may be having more positive experiences in their life, and so they drop out of counseling because they think it’s not as needed anymore.
Are you mad at your counselor because she compelled you to examine uncomfortable parts of your life? Do you disagree with her about your last conversation in the session? Does she remind you of your relationship with someone else in your life in a way that is unpleasant? Have you noticed that your life has vastly improved since beginning counseling? Maybe you can’t afford your session and you feel embarrassed?
Remember that we rely on you, the client, to provide us with information about your life and how you’re doing. Ethical and legal codes discourage counselors from seeking you out in a crowded room, or going to your house, to confront you on your non-attendance. Nonetheless, we’re still concerned about you and hope you are doing well. If you’re angry at your counselor and disagreed with her, it’s okay to tell her about that! A healthy counselor-client relationship is one in which the therapist does not take these sorts of experiences personally. You may need an outlet to express healthy anger, and that’s a great way to make use of counseling! So many therapy theories are built on a collaborative model now. We want you to tell us you’re angry, that you disagree, that you’re not sure what you need counseling for.
It’s also important to note that you are likely to be charged by a counselor after failing to cancel or reschedule an appointment within a certain time frame. Here at Dr. Becky’s office, new client appointments have 48 hours to cancel. But what if I am a new client and today is when I scheduled an appointment for tomorrow? That’s okay! We’re happy to meet with you in a short notice, but please, just be comfortably certain that you will be able to make the appointment. Of course extenuating circumstances like family emergencies may intervene, and these are considered with compassion on a case-by-case basis. Active clients need to cancel within 24 hours without being charged. Please bear in mind that this is why Dr. Becky’s office keeps CC numbers on file–this helps establish a level of commitment by the client.
If you’re reading this and have had no call/no show behavior in the past, don’t fret! Call your counselor and set up an appointment to meet up–stick to it this time! Talk about the reasons for your no call/no show and discuss how you’d like to proceed with your counseling. Remember, we are held to ethical and legal standards that require us to not engage in vindictive action against a client–we’re personal in our work, but we are not going to come after you personally. When you make an appointment, we just want to be here for you.