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#123524 - 01/04/07 07:45 AM Standard Therapist Practice?
Paul1959 Offline

Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 525
Loc: NYC
I have a question about something my therapist has instituted. In December he announced that he was starting a new cancellation policy. We are allowed to cancel two session in a calendar year - with 48 hour notice. After that we will have to pay for these sessions. He says that he saves that time for us and if we go on vacation or go away, we will still have to pay for these sessions. In essence, I signed a 50 week contract for therapy - unless I want to quit therapy completely, of course.
Is this common? My wife's therapist has started the same thing.
I do not cancel sessions, but have gone on vacation or trips which caused me to miss sessions. I just figured that being in business for one's self that this just went with the territory.
Anyone else have similar conditions?

#123525 - 01/04/07 07:52 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
Elad 12 Offline

Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 1176
Loc: on the coast

My initial thought is that that policy sucks. I'm not in therapy right now but have been in the past. It just doesn't seem quite fair to me. I always made it to my appointments and would give at least a couple of weeks notice if I was going to be out of town.

Haven't talked in a while. Hope all is ok.


#123526 - 01/04/07 08:27 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
When I was in therapy I always made the next appointment when I was paying the cashier. She would simply open her appointment book to the next week to see what was available. If I wanted to skip a week, that was no problem, I just told her to go to the next week. The T was out of the loop on the scheduling. Your T's policy sounds like he's trying to maximize his time. I can understand about people cancelling at the last minute and the T not being able to fill the time, but I would think a week's notice should be more than adequate time.


#123527 - 01/05/07 02:01 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA

My policy is that I'd like 24 hour notice of a cancellation but I don't charge anyone for a cancellation. If he can't fill an appointment (or do something else with the free time), he must have a very small practice. Probably because he is so inflexible.

If someone no-shows, I give them one free no show and after that, they have to pay. I'm not a physician or dentist who stacks patients up. I have a client policy on confidentiality and appointment times which I'll reprint below. You can show it to him and if he's so unflexible with 48 hrs notice, start looking for another therapist, in my opinion.


Ken Singer, LCSW
83 Douglas Street
Lambertville, NJ 08530
(609) 397-2760 fax (609) 397-1869
NJ License # SC00274

Entering therapy is a major decision for most people and is not taken lightly. Since it is difficult emotionally and financially to “shop around” to find the best therapist for your needs, it is important that there be a clear understanding between us. This is a way to address some of the questions you may have, or raise some that may not have crossed your mind.
CONFIDENTIALITY- What is said here stays here with a few exceptions. I will not speak to anyone about you or your situation without a signed release from you. The exceptions include the following:
+ If I believe you are going to harm yourself of another person, I have a legal responsibility to notify someone to protect you or the other person.
+ A situation of child abuse as reportable to child protective services, under state law that mandates such reporting.

APPOINTMENTS- Your appointment time is your time. Unlike doctors or dentists who will “stack” patients to avoid idle time because of late or no-show appointments, I cannot do this. If you do not show up or come late, I cannot put someone else in your place. While a 24 hour cancellation notice is preferred, I recognize this may not always be possible. I will accept a same day cancellation before the scheduled time. A no-show will be charged for the hour.

PHONE CALLS, EMERGENCIES- The above phone number is in my home. If I am there, I answer calls. The answering machine is not used to screen calls. If I am not there or in session, the machine will pick up and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Unless a phone call turns into a partial therapy session (20 minutes or longer) I do not charge for my time. If I am out of town, I may be reached in emergencies on my cell phone, xxxxxxxxx.

REPORTS TO COURT OR OTHER AGENCIES- I will provide reports for no additional charge unless it is part of an evaluation (which will be discussed with you). If I have to physically be in court, there will be a charge for my time.

BOUNDARIES- Since I specialize in sexual abuse issues, I am very aware for the need of boundaries. I do not and will not violate anyone’s space in a physical or sexual manner. I welcome feedback from clients if anything I say or do is construed as an intrusion or felt as blaming or negative in any way.

Please feel free to discuss these or any other issues with me.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#123528 - 01/07/07 12:17 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Paul, what would you think about another service provider who did something similar? A dentist who locked you into five years of teeth cleaning? Even my daughter's day care allowed people to opt-out and not pay for the summer if they have made other plans for their kids.

#123529 - 01/07/07 02:55 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Paul - I too see patients privately and have private contracts with agencies. Ken's policies are pretty standard in the field. I have many patients I see in the hospital outpatient clinic who take vacations (some for the summer). With prior appropriate notice, there is no charge. I agree Ken! With a thriving patient list,I am never at a loss with cancellations!! Questions? Just ask!


If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

#123530 - 01/07/07 03:32 AM Re: Standard Therapist Practice?
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

While your therapist may be a very good clinician, he seems to be quite a control freak. I think he has issues.

The practice where my therapist has his office prefers a 24-hour cancellation notice and charges for the visit if you don't show. I can arrange for my next appointment at the close of my session or I can arrange them weeks or months into the future depending on my own schedule and needs.

NO ONE can predict a year in advance when they may need to be on vacation, be ill, or be called out of town on business, to a funeral, etc. Most people realize this. You need to print this thread and let him read it. He's out of line.

Tell him you're moving on if he doesn't see it similarly to Ken's contract, and he can bill you all he wants, you're not going to pay.

How's that for blunt?

Lots of incredulity,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson


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