Imagine a meal of sumptuous proportions cooked expertly by a recognised chef. Imagine that you are hungry, and interested in what you are about to consume.
Imagine the expectation, the table set. The dinner guests delighted and eager. The lighting perfect, the aromas wafting carrying in the anticipation of what delights are to follow.
Your dinner, the one worth waiting for! At the moment of delivery, at the height of expectations being met, the meal doesn’t arrive.
After all that anticipation?!
This is my experience, a therapists experience of the missed appointment or the client who does not arrive for their scheduled second appointment.
The preparation is only half of the story though. It is in the moments the appointments, the twists and turns of the therapeutic encounters to follow that were worth the anticipation.
These moments are where I find alchemy takes place. Little can happen before the client and therapist meet. In the appointments are when the therapist and client are both tested, triumph, fail and succeed continually.
But then the reasons for the client not attending are too numerous and complex to fully appreciate. Generally the reasons could be about fear. Fear about what change could mean. Remember The light bulb has got to want to change. But we are not to know.
That’s the hard part to the appointment missing client for a therapist. The not knowing. The guessing and the not getting to support that person who is struggling to experience something new. Like that meal mentioned at the top. The difficulty Not met and lieing unresolved.
Unknowing of when next to begin. Training in therapy invites therapists to be aware of resiliency in treatment with another. But the missing client has a very different weight to it. Training encompasses what to do in that 50 minute appointment which include:
Sit and ponder the last interaction and think about the work.
Make notes in the pad to take to supervision to reflect on what is going on for the therapist the client and their relationship.
Catch up on writing notes.
Review the notes with the non attending client and be mindful of patterns.
Very often there are few answers but many many questions. To do what with I wonder? To provide answers. To look at things differently. To arrive at choices that could alter the work or the practice with that client.
It could also be a time to make a hot drink, have a conversation with a colleague/friend, do something creative and be mindful. This is about you and not them. What is a potentiality is the client returning.
This is when the labour made in those missed appointments comes into its own and the investment of time spent is met.
And Where Should We Begin