Who Minds the Shop?
A couple of years ago, my therapist had to drop out of the work at short notice due to a sudden illness. I can still remember the shock of learning that she was going to be absent for several months, and the difficulty I had in dealing with it at the time. As therapists we are often good at dealing with our client’s crises, but sometimes we aren’t so hot at looking after our own shop! In my case, she had enough notice of her absence to be able to tell me herself, and to arrange for another therapist to provide emergency cover, but not every emergency will give us that luxury.
Many therapists work on their own, and very few have administrative or secretarial support. If you were unable to see your clients, through a sudden illness, or family crisis, the last thing you might feel like doing is ringing clients and supporting them, possibly dealing with their distress when you have an issue of your own going on. And yes, I know, we’re trained to do that sort of thing. But really, wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone in your life who could make those calls to your clients, and offer them the emergency support they might need to weather your absence?
Such an arrangement takes little time to set up and maintain, but has a number of distinct advantages. Firstly, it helps to support clients, some of whom may be at sensitive places in their therapeutic work, and may find the sudden withdrawal of their therapist difficult to deal with. Being contacted by someone, who is also capable of providing them with interim support if necessary, gives clients a holding from which they can draw on their own resources. Secondly, from the practitioner’s point of view, it can help to preserve the client relationship and therefore the client base for when the therapist returns to work in the future. In the absence of such contact, clients very quickly move on to finding some other way of having their needs met.
The time to arrange this is not when the crisis occurs, but in advance, so that the arrangements can fall easily into place when needed.
You can find a list of suggested topics for including in an alternate agreement CLICK HERE.
If you would like to talk about this or any other issue concerning the management of your therapy practice, please contact me here to book your free 20 minute consultation.