When it comes to the work of therapists, there is a range of situations when specialists are expected to solve problems related to the abnormal behavior of their clients. The potential problems include the cases when clients fail to act by the discussed strategy or prevent specialists from effectively conducting psychotherapy sessions. The case of Susan illustrates such a situation.
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In the case that is the focus of the given assignment, a client whose name is Susan has failed to attend her fourth session with her specialist. Worse still, she has not considered her therapist’s scheduling problems, and the therapist was not notified about the changing plans of this client. According to the assignment, a specialist has at least five options that can be used to handle the absence of the client. As for the first option which includes closing the case of Susan for noncompliance, it does not seem to be the best way to solve the problem. To begin with, numerous reasons can encourage clients to miss the attended sessions.
The latter can include problems with spouses, children, or other relatives, employee termination, health issues, and other circumstances that sometimes cannot be controlled. Also, it is important to remember that it is difficult for some people who have psychological problems to make final decisions. It is possible that Susan does not know whether she wants to continue visiting psychotherapy sessions or not. Therefore, considering a great number of reasons that could cause this situation, the first option does not seem to be appropriate. As for the second one, it involves sending a form letter informing her that she should contact the therapist during the next 30 days. The option may seem to be appropriate when it comes to clients who express concerns about the quality of their therapists’ work and then fail to attend to the next sessions. In the discussed case, the attitude of the client towards her therapist and previous sessions is unclear. This is why the possibility to use the option is a point at issue.
The next options are extremely different in terms of the proposed solutions. The option that involves writing a warm note to the client could be a good decision if a therapist and a client have managed to establish good relationships and the former knows it for sure that such an action would not be regarded as overfamiliarity (Pope & Vasquez, 2016). Also, there is another option that seems to be the most appropriate based on the information presented in the case. It involves calling the patient check-in. The latter can be seen as a good way to handle the absence of the patient because it helps a therapist to demonstrate that he or she cares about possible problems of clients. Finally, there is an opportunity to ignore the absence of the patient and text her to provide her with the information on the date of the next visit. I do not think that the proposed solution is appropriate for the case because ignoring the absence of clients can significantly reduce the effectiveness of further psychotherapy sessions.
If I were supposed to handle this situation as Susan’s therapist, I would prefer to use the fourth option (to call her to check-in) to learn more about the reasons why she did not attend the previous meeting. At the same time, I would like to find out whether the client wants to continue working with me. If the client fails to answer the phone or inform me with the help of an e-mail or short messages, I will send her an informal letter asking her to reply as soon as possible.
Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. (2016). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling: A practical guide (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.