Cancelling clients

You’ve probably sat through a class or two talking about the need to have some kind of ‘counsellor will’ about what happens to clients if you die, etc. I’m not going to go in to that just now, but when I had to cancel clients at short notice, I realised that my data-keeping had slipped recently; new clients who weren’t yet added to the easy to get to places meant that I had to make more work for myself at a point when I needed to make less work for myself.

So it seemed opportune to have a post that said essentially: make note of the policies of your placements. Make sure you know who to get to if someone else does your cancelling for you. Double-check that their numbers are up to date in your info; make sure nothing has changed in your placement’s process in the months or years that you’ve been there – I know that at one of my placements, although the volunteer and paid counsellors do the same things, different people co-ordinate the different groups. It’s possible that people have joined or left and you’re not aware of a change in process because a memo has only gone to the paid counsellors, for example.

If you run your own service, make sure that you put your numbers and contacts in one handy place. Also, let them know at the start of their counselling with you: ‘if I have to cancel for any reason, these are the steps I will follow’. It’s easy to think that it won’t happen to you, and the longer you go without having to cancel, the more easy it is to become complacent about it. But it is at that point, when one has become complacent, that *something* will go awry in your life, leading to a last-minute cancellation and a flapping because that number is not where you thought it was. Lesson learnt!

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