Have you given any thought to your cancellation policy? If not, you should. Cancellation policies provide clarity for your clients and reinforce professional courtesy and boundaries for you.
It is common for mental health professionals to require a 24-48 hour notice for clients to cancel a scheduled appointment. Under such a policy, the client who fails to give appropriate notice for canceling an appointment typically pays the therapist’s usual and customary fee. Therapists who implement this type of policy often stipulate exceptions for emergencies and illness.
My cancellation policy reads as follows: “ A cancelled appointment delays our work. When you must cancel, please give me at least 24 hours notice. I am rarely able to fill a cancelled session unless I know at least 24 hours in advance. In you are unable to provide at least 24 hours notice when you cancel, you will be charged the full fee for your session unless I am able to fill it with another client. (You should note that insurance companies do not typically reimburse for missed appointments.) The only time I will waive this fee is in the event of serious or contagious illness or emergency.”
Should you decide to implement a cancellation policy in your practice, make sure that you include it in your written statement of disclosure.