Thursday, October 20, 2005

Therapy on Shaky Ground

Some time ago, when Kathryn and I decided we had a viable relationship, she rattled off her policies concerning missed appointments. I sort of half listened, figuring it was really just what every other professional did and that she was obligated to verbally go over it with me, but wondering why this was necessary when most other professionals just post a little sign that says something to the effect of “48-hour cancellation policy; otherwise patient is responsible.”

When I called 10 days ago to let her know that I would not be coming on Yom Kippur, her response was that religious holidays were an acceptable miss. I was slightly bothered by this response, but didn’t really think anything more about it.

When she brought up her policy for the third time today in our session, I started to sense that this was a big deal for her. I started to probe a little: “You mean I am responsible for paying for sessions that would have occurred while I am on vacation? You mean you want me to come in even if I have a contagious disease, otherwise I will be charged?” The bottom line is that she wants a predictable income with no exceptions. This is absurd and not at all acceptable to me.

Just as we were settling in to some really good work together, this whole issue of money had to come along. I refuse to let her fee take priority over my mental health, which is not going to be too good if I am getting charged for her time when I am not benefitting from it.

I left a message on her answering machine. Hopefully there will be some middle ground, where she recognizes that I am committed to our work together and yet that there will be times when I simply cannot make an appointment, for legitimate reasons. I am not very good at being patient while these types of issues sort themselves out. But I am learning that not all problems are my fault, and this is clearly one where she is going to have to make concessions if we are to have a future relationship.

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