Or, if you have difficulty maintaining professional boundaries, you may find your entire day’s schedule thrown off because you have to shift everyone back 20 minutes.
I believe how I treat myself as a therapist communicates important lessons to my clients.
If I maintain boundaries and have high expectations of them and their behavior, then they start to understand that they can expect that from others as well. That is why I have established written policies around client tardiness that I share with them at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship.
Late Client Policies
- Clients use up their time, not mine, when they are late.
- I never extend my sessions to accommodate their lateness. I have sessions that follow theirs and I will not inconvenience other clients.
- If a client is going to be late more than 20 minutes then assume that we are not going to have a session. It can takes 5-10 minutes for someone to emotionally show up and 5-10 minutes to get them put back together before leaving the session. That’s potentially 20 minutes of a 50 minutes session. If the other 20 minutes are them showing up late that leaves 5 minutes to try to do some work. That typically is not enough time to get good work done.
- Shorter sessions due to lateness are still full fee, even if they don’t show up because of policy number 3. They are paying to reserve the time and if they don’t give adequate notice then they are responsible for payment.
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