Bonehead Moves by Helping Professionals

patient-therapist-150x150I’ve been in private practice coaching people with ADHD for about three months now. It’s a whole new world to me (the private practitioner route, not the work itself), so I soak up do’s and don’ts from other professionals like a sponge. I’m constantly inquiring about how they set up their practice, the ins and outs of insurance, client policies, etc. I’m also asking people who’ve engaged in therapy (or similar services) about what they liked/didn’t like about the experience.

It was one of these latter conversations that almost caused me to fall out of my chair.

A smart, savvy professional woman I know explained that she had started to see a psychiatrist for her depression. However, she was ambivalent about the doctor since, during their appointment times, the doctor’s eye lids often grew heavy and he APPEARED TO BE NODDING OFF at times.

“Is this normal?” she asked with genuine confusion.

I assured her that his lack of attentiveness was not some secret test of her assertiveness. It was unacceptable behavior (especially when she’s paying $200+ per hour!).

Other idiotic moves I’ve heard about: therapists who routinely run 20-30 minutes late; those who talk extensively about their own problems during sessions; clinicians who constantly take notes on their computer with little to no eye contact (some even had their back turned to the client); and even a few professionals who forgot the scheduled appointments so clients were faced with locked doors when they showed up (talk about abandonment issues!).

Have you or someone you know had to put up with similar unprofessional conduct from a helping professional? (Don’t even get me started on doctors’ office!)

I think the more we share what’s OK and not OK, the more confident we’ll be to speak up when confronted with unacceptable behavior from a professional who is supposed to help us during our time of need. Maybe next time we’ll even reach over and poke that sleeping professional awake.

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Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.
Richard Holloway

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