So you’ve found a therapist you like and who seems to get you. You’ve had some insights with her that-if implemented, were worth their weight in gold.
Sure you haven’t always felt like talking but once the session got rolling you usually came away feeling better or at least like you were finally addressing the stuff you’d been carrying around for years.
Then a trip came up for work, you were unable to give the required 24 business hours notice and your credit card was slapped with a cancellation fee. Ouch!!!! All those good feelings went out the window and you ended up feeling like you were foolish for spilling your guts to a perfect stranger and thinking she cared! Another slap in the face from this old cruel world you cry!
Or you are an overworked, undervalued stay at home mom and the kids’ school was called off… at the last minute! The therapist who seemed to understand how hard you work and how none cares just acted like the rest of the world who never appreciates you.
Why does this always happen to you!? Can you trust no one?! For gods, sake-can’t a therapist realize what a bind you are in?
Cancellation Fees Money and Therapy
Ok, frustrating I know. This is where therapy becomes therapy, not just friendship. And like any therapist worth their salt, as a part of my training (and personal growth) I have spent some time on the couch myself. I have experienced how it feels to be on the other side. And yes, those cancellation fees sting.
Here is my best advice- First of all, you need to pick a therapist you like more than just a little. Because something sticky is going to come up, sooner or later and it will usually involve time and money. And, if therapy is going to have any depth and real-world relevance, you are going to need to handle the issue face to face. Above all, please please do not, do not text your therapist that you are quitting. You owe both her and yourself more than that.
Here’s the deal as I see it-
Basically, you are paying your therapist for her expertise and her time. If she was a doormat and accommodated everyone’s she dueling conflicts she wouldn’t be able to reliably see you with any consistency.
How would you feel if you had arranged a babysitter, or cleared your professional schedule only to get a call from your therapist who asked: “can you change your appointment to later that day? I have someone who needs the time more and can’t come at their scheduled time.?”
Yea, you’d feel pretty rotten and I can guarantee you – you’d be harmed more than helped by such a therapist.
So the therapist has to set a policy. It won’t always be the fairest for everyone in every circumstance, yet there has to be some policy if there is to be any measure of both dependency and accountability.
You need to be able to depend on your therapist and she needs to hold you accountable. She can’t give the time to someone else at a moments notice.
After all, your therapist has made arrangements for your appointment whether it involves calling a babysitter, or your neighbor or sister and doing a trade, reinforces to you that you are important and what you have to say is valuable. It is a respect thing all around.
The fact is your therapist lives in the real world too. She has last minute curve balls thrown at her as well. Most likely she has a plan and a backup plan. You shouldn’t hear about everything she did to be able to greet you in the waiting room, and if you do, you should get a new therapist. That is on the therapist, that is, to be dependable, and not to burden you with what it that takes. She may have young children at home and an out of town husband. Or, she may be caring for a dying parent. You just never know what it took her to be sitting in the chair ready to listen to you. And that is as it should be.
Still, it feels icky to be charged money by someone who is looking at your emotional underwear.
Chances are you are experiencing what is known in the therapeutic world as transference. The feelings a client has for their parent that are transferred onto another human who you have entrusted with your well being.
Don’t be surprised if these feelings feel really big. That’s ok too and as it should be. The opportunity here is for you to use these strong feelings to get at the buried icky stuff from your past. A therapist should welcome and in fact, encourage any and all feelings you have- including those about the therapy. That is what you are there for- to talk about feelings that come up
The take away here is as follows: be really picky about choosing a therapist and trust only the therapist who is dependable. Then go about protecting that session like your emotional life depends on it, because it just might. Having said that, any and all feelings are allowed and encouraged. Then when it’s your time to talk, well, have at it! It’s your session, use it well.