Thursdays are my busiest days. It doesn’t change whether it was 7 years ago working in senior day facilities, running substance abuse groups for teens, or the past 6 years in school based services. Now, working in an office with scheduled clients, a hair-breadth away from private practice, it’s the same deal.
Clients cancel 1-24 hours in advance, don’t show up at all, or reschedule early in the week. Mondays are notorious for being empty. In the therapeutic line of work, empty is boring. I plan sessions for my clients, questions to push them towards progress. I create home practice to be completed between sessions and built upon the following session.
On the internet you can go to any search engine of choice an type in “therapy client no show” and get advice. Many of the results present advice for ffs clients (fee for service). What about medi-medi clients who have no co-pay?
I make a phone call about 15 minutes into the missed session. I offer them an opportunity to reschedule the following week. I ask about problems arranging transportation and make recommendations. If I end up leaving a message, it’s “Hi XYZ, it’s Megan from [insert employer here]. You missed your scheduled session with me today at 9 A.M.. You can call me back at 123-456-7890 to schedule a different time.”
At my previous employer we worked with Medi-Cal clients alone. This enabled us to discuss the 3 consecutive no-show policy held by Medi-Cal which resulted in termination of services if they did not respond to a mailed letter reviewing the policy and their endangered client status. At my current employer I review the policy at the initial session, and the policies are posted at the receptionist.
What about Medi-Medi clients who do not have a co-pay?