When a Client is a No Show

Every now and then therapists have a client who doesn’t show up for an appointment. They don’t give 24 hours notice, they don’t call even right before to reschedule, they just don’t show up. Usually a no show client is someone coming in for their very first appointment, and they get nervous. Perhaps they decided they aren’t ready for therapy, and they’re too embarrassed to call and say so. Perhaps they think they will get talked into coming, and they really don’t want to go. 

A no show client is also someone who has come in for an appointment or two, and maybe they decide they don’t click with the therapist. They are too embarrassed or afraid to call to let the therapist know they need a change. The client might also decide that therapy is too uncomfortable, or they just don’t want to pay for therapy. 

So, the therapist’s client is a no show. What now? Well, usually I call the person because they might be stuck in traffic. I always encourage the person to try to come in, if possible, because part of a session is better than no session. If I am unable to get ahold of the client, I leave an encouraging message. Most of the time they will call back to reschedule.

So for the times there is a no show,  I always have a good book with me. I try to look at the positive, I now have an hour to sit and relax and read my book. Or maybe grab something to eat. Sometimes I catch up on paperwork if I have any. And yes, sometimes I get on WordPress and write on my blog. Just like I am doing right now. 

Do therapists get angry when someone just doesn’t show up? No, they don’t. Therapy is a personal process, and it can sometimes take awhile to decide you are ready. We understand that.  We are just glad when you do decide you are ready. 

I have to admit that when there is a no show as my first appointment, I do sit and think about the things I could have gotten done in that hour. I could’ve gotten some of the house work done. On second thought……..is it really so bad I got out of housework? Maybe not. 

  

What Therapy is NOT 

You’ve chosen a therapist and you are ready for your first appointment. You know a little bit about what to expect from therapy. You know that your therapist will help you process feelings, point out your strengths, and provide you with a safe place to work. 

Usually someone chooses a therapist who they feel will they will connect with in some way. A therapist is someone who can be trusted to help protect the mental well-being of others, and provide a safe environment where feelings and thoughts can be shared without judgment. We have discussed what therapy is, but what is therapy not?

Therapy is not advice. Your therapist should not tell you what to do. You should be the one who decides what is best for you. Your therapist helps you figure out what is best for you. 

Therapy is not physical. There should not be any inappropriate touching during your session. There should not be any sexual advances or suggestions, and you should not be asked to hug it out. 

Your therapist is not your friend. Your therapist should not invite you to dinner, or to the movies, or ask you to do things for them. Your therapist should not ask you to trade favors. Your therapist should not come to your house unannounced or ask you to participate in any type of social activities. 

Your therapist should not ask you for advice, or ask your opinion about their life. They should not ask you for help with anything. Therapy is all about YOU, not your therapist. 
So if your therapist makes you uncomfortable because of their actions, it’s time to find a new therapist. 

Why Did I Do That?! 

When I was 23, I got married. If I had known what know now, I never would have married my first husband. I certainly would not have gotten married at the ae of 23. But for some reason I did get married. I put college aside, and several other dreams, and I married a man who I thought was a great guy. Even though, I think I subconsciously I did know that things were not quite right.

For some reason, I ignored red flags that I had never ignored in the past with other men. I made excuses for the behavior that I knew was wrong or unhealthy. I ignored his impulses and reckless spending habits. I made excuses like, “Oh, nobody is perfect. I need to stop being so picky.”  I think I felt bad because he told me that he never felt a part of his family once his mother remarried. He felt misunderstood. Because I was a psychology major, I wanted to be understanding and help him work through things. I played therapist before I was a therapist.

I wanted to help this man. I thought I could fix him. And honestly, many of the things he did were things guys do when they’re younger. I thought he would outgrow certain behaviors, and I was going to help him do it. Together we would grow up, and conquer the world. But that didn’t happen.

As time passed, my ex husband’s behavior became more erratic. I’ll give him credit. He did manage to hold it together for a fairly long time. He fooled me, my friends, my family, and his own family. It was about five years into the marriage that things started to get really strange. The little annoying things he did turned into erratic behavior.

The reason I am sharing this story is because I know there are a lot of people out there who have been fooled by someone they love. They feel as if something is wrong with THEM, and they are ashamed to admit they were fooled by someone they love. It happens a lot more than people realize, and it happens to all types of people. You should not feel shame for wanting to believe that someone can change for the better,  and that you can help them do it.

We want to see the good in people, so we sometimes ignore the bad. Something else that people may not realize is that people who deceive us possibly have a personality disorder, or mental illness, and they are good at hiding this fact. In my case, I realized that my ex husband probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I can’t say for sure because I am not his therapist, and I never interviewed or questioned him. I am certain that he learned bad habits, and how to be dishonest from family members, because I personally witnessed things that they did and said that were not acceptable. Do I still beat myself up for being fooled by my ex husband? No. I no longer do. I have forgiven myself and moved on. I have taken this experience and learned from it. I can’t say that I’m glad I went through what I did, but at least now I can help others recognize this type of person. I can help others move on.

What Therapists Think

Lately I have been asked what I think about when I’m talking to someone. And I don’t mean a client. I mean just a regular person, a friend, the mom of one of my son’s friends, the mailman, etc.  And the answer is that when I am just being me, I really don’t have anything specific I think about. Sometimes I think about what kind of chocolate I want. Do I want plain chocolate? Or chocolate with caramel? That’s a nice shirt she’s wearing. I am not analyzing you. I swear. But that seems to be the fear: that us therapists are always analyzing people everywhere we go. Not true.

Therapists don’t have magical powers that allow us to talk to someone for a few minutes and deem them delusional, or schizophrenic, or bipolar. We can’t even necessarily talk to someone for awhile and decide they have an issue. Analyzing someone can take time. We need to ask questions and get to know the person. Sometimes that can take awhile, especially if the person is trying to hide what is really going on.  Sometimes people really want help, so they are really open and forthcoming about their issues. That makes our job easier.

I have to admit that when someone asks me what I do for a living, I’m afraid to answer because I have gotten some interesting reactions. I have even had people tell me that they don’t know how to behave around me. I rarely get people telling me they think it’s interesting that I’m a therapist. Now if I say I’m a dog trainer, well, people love that.

So the next time someone tells you they’re a therapist of some kind, don’t back away from them, or fear them, just know that we are regular people just like you. And unless you come to our office and ask us for help, We’re not analyzing you. I swear.

Hello world!

I started this blog as a way to introduce myself to the community, and to share my thoughts about life and the world in general. I will be coming up with a topic to write about in the next few days.

Today I will a start by introducing myself. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. I practice in Arcadia, California in a private practice. I really enjoy being a therapist. I want to talk about a variety of topics in this blog, and not just about therapy. I am hoping that I can periodically have a question and answer blog where people will be able to ask me questions. I am also an animal lover, and former dog trainer, so I am sure I will be blogging about adventures with animals. I am looking forward to my first real blog.

Talk to you soon.