Psychotherapy Networker – June Quandary: My Client Ghosted Me!
Ghosting is an all too common practice that many of us experience on a regular basis. “My client ghosted me” is not such a crazy thing to hear these days. Not just confined to social interactions, ghosting can also present itself in professional settings as well.
Psychotherapy Networker asked me to weigh in on how to handle ghosting when it happens in a therapy setting and I was very pleased to help out with this great piece.
To read the full post, click HERE.
Don’t Take It Personally
The challenge facing this therapist is to read Sara’s behavior and interpret it in the most compassionate way possible. In my practice, when a client chooses not to return to treatment, I want them to know I’ve heard the message, understand it, and have no hard feelings.
When I work with clients struggling with avoidance issues, I know they may have a hard time ending therapy. Sometimes, I even mention this directly in a session. With Sara, I’d assume she’s ended therapy for now, and most likely feels badly about doing so abruptly. Chances are likely she’s done this before in complicated relationships. Of course, it’s natural for conscientious clinicians to wonder what might have gone wrong: it’s how we hone our skills, track our effectiveness, and retool as needed.
Ultimately, ghosting belies a struggle within the ghoster to be direct and honest about what she wants, especially when she predicts it may cause hurt feelings, pressure, or guilt. My best advice is to send her a note, briefly telling her you enjoyed your work together and that you’re always available should she wish to resume therapy in the future. Sometimes, this is what clients want to hear the most.
Alicia Clark, PsyD, PLLC