Cold Hard Fact: I have a very strict cancellation policy, and here’s why.
I am heartless and greedy…Not really, but I’ve been told so.
Therapists all handle their cancellation policies differently. I happen to have one of the strictest. It means I lose patients sometimes, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I have a practice full of highly motivated individuals who take their emotional success seriously.
What my office procedures say about the cancellation policy:
In light of the fact that therapy induces a great deal of ambivalence, and we often have shifting priorities unless there is financial consideration behind our decisions, please note that once an appointment is scheduled you will be charged the regular session fee. There is no cancellation grace period. Once you agree to an hour, it’s yours. No matter what… Yes, even if you’re at home hacking up a lung or in the hospital getting surgery after a car wreck. That’s why I’ve been told I’m heartless and greedy. And you might agree. But here’s the deal.
First. As I mention in the office procedures, therapy induces a great deal of ambivalence, and we often have shifting priorities. I have decided to leave the financial ramifications of those phenomena up to you.
Second. Part of therapy is coming face to face with the way you “do” all your feelings, including irritation and anger in your relationships. Since there aren’t a great many chances in our relationship for you to get irritated or angry, this creates that potential.
Do I need to build in a way for you to get angry with me? No. But, not everybody gets upset by the same stuff. Every boundary creates tension for someone. This boundary happens to be about a typically touchy subject.
When I say, “no” and you don’t like it. What do we do? Do I back down and show you that I can’t handle your frustration/irritation/anger? Do you leave, and, in essence, “do me in” by ending the relationship?
Either way, we avoid living in the experience of your anger. You learn that I can’t deal with that part of you, or, we lose the relationship. It will be a re-creation of what probably happens in your life over and over and over again.
Therapy is about changing patterns. This is a powerful opportunity to throw a wrench in a pattern. To put the brakes on, and have a look at it frame by frame. That’s what you’re paying for, whether you’re in the office or not. It’s all “grist for the mill,” as they say.
Want to know more? Or have a good, strong discussion about the cancellation policy? Call me. We’ll talk.