- In general, we have a 48 hour rule. This means that appointments cancelled with less than 48 Hours Prior Notice may be invoiced for.
- The meeting is chargeable because the therapists diary is booked out in your name, and the therapists time was therefore unavailable for other fee paying work.
This is an extensive note about the group practice policies for cancelled, missed and infrequent meetings between Therapist and Client.
In general, the therapist and you will agree on a ‘regular frequency’ of meetings. Usual frequencies are once weekly. twice weekly, and also once fortnightly. In effect then, you will agree with the therapist for a recurring series of appointments. So, meetings that are cancelled, missed or otherwise disrupt the series: they need to have a working policy (pre) agreed that covers such exceptions.
This means that there is often an unspoken understanding at the end of one meeting that you will attend the next, because both you and the therapist know and have pre-agreed how often you meet and at what usual time. It is more often the case that you will speak about disruptions and one-off changes to that rhythm rather than confirming it time after time.
We hope that providing both a general note, and detailing particular therapist’s variations, will help by providing a reference for you, and that it might also help you in deciding whether to work with a particular therapist or another. For instance, if your job expects you to ‘drop everything’ at a moments notice and fly to America, then you should not be meeting with a therapist whose background, training and orientation means that the therapist will charge you for those ‘missed meetings’ despite you being able to give, say, 48 hours notice.
The Overall Group Policy
If an (next) appointment time and date has been agreed and confirmed, then the therapist will accept cancellations that are made with 48 hours notice. Without sufficient notice time, the therapist will be have insufficient time to re-organise their diary, and that time will be unproductive. So, without sufficient notice the therapist will expect you to reimburse (pay for) the missed session.
The therapist will accept a cancellation notified by you in the online appointment system, or made to the therapist directly by email, text or telephone call.
We deal with over 700 sessions per month – and our process can go wrong like everything else. Please keep a copy of that communication to us.
If you request, and a meeting is rescheduled to a different time (for instance the therapist can accommodate a shift from Monday at 6pm to Tuesday at 7pm), this would not be chargeable, no matter what the ‘notice period’. However, although the therapist will always try to accommodate a reschedule, practically they might not be able to oblige. In that case, the appointment will count as cancelled (as above).
The therapist will accept that there are natural pauses in the work that you do together. If usual meetings are suspended because of your holidays, maternity, family circumstance, work schedules etc., that will be fine.
Equally, if the therapist requires a break in the usual meetings for similar reasons, the therapist would not expect you to pay for those sessions that the therapist was unable to host.
In the case of meetings that are, quite simply, unattended (missed) without any contact from you, the therapist will always expect to be paid for their unproductive time
Unlike the NHS, our therapists do not expect you to prevaricate, postpone or otherwise make bad use of the time, and the therapist is unlikely to hold open offers for meetings if you are frequently cancelling, not attending and otherwise not keeping the meetings actually attended as frequent enough.
The fee that you pay is an important variable in the work and the treatment. But the therapists’ also are aware that personal circumstances can change. The therapist will expect you to discuss openly with them should you need to reduce the fee that you pay, or if in better circumstances, you can now afford to pay more.
While this is the general policy of the group practice some therapists will adopt different policies. This is because their training has emphasised different aspects of the patient/therapist contract. If aspects of your therapists policy are not at all clear, please take the trouble to define them with him/her. Should the therapists particular policy be unworkable for your particular life circumstances, you may need to consider approaching a different and more flexible therapist here.
There will always be grey and disputable areas, because therapy is also ‘life going on’. But in particular, we do understand that unconscious processes might inform well-defended points of resistance. The unattended appointment and the defence of the notion that one has received nothing that one has to pay for, well, these are psychotherapeutic classics….