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Email fallout with T - need advice please

beaneeboo

MyPTSD Pro
So T and I have had, what is to me, a an unexpected disagreement over email. I couldn't sleep until 4am lost night because of it and would appreciate some opinions on it. I know alot of you will think I'm over reacting but I genuinely can't help how I feel.

I had a necessary but brutal session 1 week ago where T reflected back to me (almost) everything I'd brought to therapy to date. It was a lot to process and kick-started difficult feelings which I've been grappling with since. Nothing i can't handle but I decided I won't attend the next session to give me more space before continuing that process. I told T this on early Sat afternoon. My session is always at 6pm on a Monday.

I didn't know I was going to want space until the Friday night. But because T has always said as long as cancel my session 48 hours before, i won't be charged. So I slept on it thinking I may change my mind and would let him know within the 48 hour time frame.

When I emailed him he let me know he'd have to charge me for the session. I paid him for it but let him know I was surprised, saying my understanding from all the times we'd talked about it was I had 48 hours as this is what he'd always said to me. I looked for his policy on his website and IT WASN'T THERE. I also searched for it on my email but didn't find any such attachment. Though I know at some point over a year ago I would have read a T&Cs.

I know it's maybe my responsibility to have kept a copy for my own records but we'd always discussed the 48 hours in person so in my mind this was what he goes by.

He then emailed back saying we could discuss in session and I would find the policy on his website. I go back to check the website and now suddenly there's a policy. The policy actually says something completely different to what he ever said face to face (I.E he needs 1 weeks notice for cancellation of face to face sessions). I told him I felt like the goal posts had been moved regarding this without me knowing.

I then went on to write this email to him:

"Thanks for your email. I did look for the policy on your website (specifically FAQ) a few days ago, but it wasn't there. Did you add it yesterday?


I also searched for it on my email but couldn't find any attachment. I know i must have read the T&Cs at some point to have signed to do therapy.


As you say,, we can discuss in session.


Just to let you know I'm still receiving notifications for the 4th of March even though I've cancelled, so I wanted to double check you're aware that one is off.


Thanks"

He then replied with this:


"I'm not comfortable with the tone of this exchange. Your email acknowledged it was late in the day to cancel – which it was – and asked if that was OK – which it wasn't. You have had my answer on the matter. If you think you have been treated unfairly by me over the last 18 months you have recourse to take it up with NCPS."


The thing i find difficult about all these email exchanges is that in the threads I've either asked specific questions or said something specific, like 'I'd like to cancel the 4th March', and he doesn't acknowledge / reply to these. It was the same with saying he's always said that it's 48 hours notice - he didn't reply. Plus other things.

Why do I feel so upset and wronged by this email exchange? What have I done wrong? And how do I answer him now?

Thank you


Ps please read the next post below if you wondered what my other email response included to make him uncomfortable

Thanks
 
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My response to him telling me I needed to pay for the missed session:


Dear X

I do understand what you're saying and I have paid you for the session as I respect the position you've now explained you're in.

I'm just surprised because you've always said cancelling before 48 hours is without charge. So what you're saying today is new to me. I based my decision on contacting you on the Saturday on the understanding it's still within the agreed time frames.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful by questioning this - I also understand from my own self employed work that late cancellation has cost implications. I value your work highly so this has nothing to do with that. It just feels like the goal posts have been moved without me knowing.

I'm aware I may have forgotten details we've discussed about this. Sorry if I have.

Can you please clarify what your cancellation policy is?

Let's leave the 4th March session. It's x's birthday on the xth March and I worry i may have an emotional fall out from the session about this on their birthday week (I'm just a bit wobbly atm). Sorry to mess you around, not my intention at all."
 
Wow, a week is a long time. Never heard of it being that long. Wonder what’s going on. Tone wasn’t overly friendly, seems defensive. Yes this one is going to need a face to face to properly discuss. Sounds like friday for a monday appointment would have been risky for 48 hours since he can’t fill it over the weekend, so he may have been miffed on that bit and rolled out the heavy artillery. Still if you typically don’t cancel then there seems to me there are other things going on in his practice.
 
Wow, a week is a long time. Never heard of it being that long. Wonder what’s going on. Tone wasn’t overly friendly, seems defensive. Yes this one is going to need a face to face to properly discuss. Sounds like friday for a monday appointment would have been risky for 48 hours since he can’t fill it over the weekend, so he may have been miffed on that bit and rolled out the heavy artillery. Still if you typically don’t cancel then there seems to me there are other things going on in his practice.
Thanks teamwork. Yes that's exactly right - defensive. I always try (as you'll see in my examples) to be respectful or even just neutral).

I don't want to pay him for a session to discuss why he's defensive. I've already paid him for the sesh i cancelled. Si he got what's owed. He is taking issue with the fact I'm questioning the 48 hrs thing.

Was it unfair of me to do that?
 
He is taking issue with the fact I'm questioning the 48 hrs thing.

Was it unfair of me to do that?
You had nothing in writing, even if you remembered that is not evidence. You also asked him if it was okay and he said no. You offered to pay anyway but then questioned his decision to charge you. There were some mixed signals on your end so it makes sense that he would feel uncomfortable from my perspective.
 
I worry i may have an emotional fall out from the session about this on their birthday week (I'm just a bit wobbly atm).
if you are taking votes, i vote you drop worry about the emotional fallout. no worries. the fallout has arrived and you are dealing with it in fine style. be gentle with yourself and patient with the process. yes, a week can feel like an eternity while surviving emotional fallout, but? ? ? a week is but a blink of the cosmic eye. vent and sort freely as you process.

buttttttttaaaaa. . . on my personal bill desk, the bill collector's birthday doesn't have much bearing on the digits in my accounts. in my own psychotherapy, the money is far from the top of the priority list, but it counts. literally. on both sides of the financial exchange. when i was in your shoes, i waited for the next therapy session to let it be part of the actual psychotherapy. surviving that painfully long wait gave me extra time to deal with my own emotional fallout. treating the financial exchange as part of my psychotherapy strengthened my business acumen considerably.

but that is me and every case is unique.

steadying support while you find your course. i also vote that you are not overreacting. you are just being honest. the heart goes where it goes.
 
Thanks all for your opinions, it's helpful getting different perspectives.

I think the main thing i take issue with is the goal posts being moved without him telling me. Yes I don't have proof that he told me about the 48 hours for cancellation. But we BOTH KNOW this is what it's been for a long time. I shouldn't have to prove to him something he already knows (we discussed this only a few weeks back and I clarified 48 hours). I have no proof of being sent the policy originally on email (I think i signed a Google form). And it defo wasn't on his website until he put it there after i highlighted things. His written policy is new to me. He's discussed in session multiple times the 48 hour policy. This isn't about evidence to me. He knows he's changed his position on it and talking about taking it up with his professional body is OTT.

This is NOT about the money. I paid him immediately what's owed when he asked for it. I understand his position financially which is why I've paid up.

This is about the rules changing last minute apparently when it suits him, without informing me. And that's what I've been trying to clarify.

That makes me feel like anything can change at any time within the relationship and I don't know where I stand. And that because he's the therapist and I'm the client, he throws down the rules and I have to abide regardless.

Also, his own email manner is quite patronising, like I shouldn't be questioning this. And I find that absurd. Why is me questioning it so challenging to him? Also because it's not a therapy issue. It's an admin issue. One i don't feel i should pay for a session to figure it out.

But I take your points and as the dust settles I will consider them thank you!
 
Honestly I think all this shows is why email is such a disaster.
Personally, in a working week I would not email a therapist on a Saturday and expect them to read it or pick it up before Monday. Therapists have days off and working hours as well.

He’s let you know it wasn’t enough time & he’d need to charge. That’s fair enough. There seems to be a lot of questioning on your end rather than just accepting you emailed him late on a Saturday afternoon to cancel a session on a Monday & that you’d need to pay for that.

Maybe he did change his policy because he realised it meant clients would try to contact him over the weekend and expect him to pickup work emails for cancellations - if he doesn’t have an online automated booking system. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me as well.

Quite honestly - if you get on well with your therapist, is this the hill you want to pick? I’d take some time off of the email, chill and let it settle and bit and then try and move on if you want to continue with him. If you don’t you don’t but it strikes me as a bit ‘baby & bathwater’.

Could it be you are actually using this as a way to blow up & mask your feelings over the previous difficult session, or something else that’s coming up for you - because this feels ‘easier’?
 
I'd feel the same way you do @beaneeboo

But then, I'm known for getting upset about such things and having PTSD reactions to it and creating a bigger fuss than is useful.

That makes me feel like anything can change at any time within the relationship and I don't know where I stand. And that because he's the therapist and I'm the client, he throws down the rules and I have to abide regardless.
This sort of sounds like you're getting into "little kid" mode... Wanting someone to be perfect and consistent and if they're not then you question the whole relationship.

(At least that's basically what my brain would do)

I guess a more adult version would be that all people are imperfect, have bad days, are inconsistent, are sometimes unreasonable, unpolite or unfair and sometimes we have to accept that...?

I'd say that if it's going to cost you energy and potentially more time in therapy to discuss and clarify this, then I'd make sure that it's helpful for you therapeutically and hence you find a way of discussing it that provides you with some kind of growth about how you react to such things...?
 
One i don't feel i should pay for a session to figure it out
Sometimes money and business expectations are a huge factor of our lives and taking time to sort that out can help with all sorts of relationship issues. The fact that it’s such a big deal to talk about here and process on the forum but you want to obscure it from work with him? Says something to me. You not talking about it is a power play in some way, something to hold onto resentment about that can come back as a weapon later. But also end up hurting you, since ultimately he does have the power. If this becomes a point of contention can you get over it without some work together?
That makes me feel like anything can change at any time within the relationship and I don't know where I stand.
This is an incredibly important point to work through. If it’s coming up with T then chances are it comes up in your relationships. And chances are that facing this rupture could be important but also very uncomfortable—maybe one to tread lightly and work around rather than go straight to the heart—though I’m probably projecting too.
 
Honestly I think all this shows is why email is such a disaster.
Personally, in a working week I would not email a therapist on a Saturday and expect them to read it or pick it up before Monday. Therapists have days off and working hours as well.
I totally agree. And originally i wouldn't. However T has always emailed me at the weekend and late at night. Sometimes not in response to anything I've said just something else.

I totally agree re the not emailing on a Saturday for a Monday session. Except he's always told me it would be fine to do so! So I'm very confused.
He’s let you know it wasn’t enough time & he’d need to charge. That’s fair enough.
That's why I paid immediately.
Maybe he did change his policy because he realised it meant clients would try to contact him over the weekend and expect him to pickup work emails for cancellations - if he doesn’t have an online automated booking system. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me as well.
Agree. Only he didn't tell me until the situation arose. Which I found unfair.

Quite honestly - if you get on well with your therapist, is this the hill you want to pick? I’d take some time off of the email, chill and let it settle and bit and then try and move on if you want to continue with him. If you don’t you don’t but it strikes me as a bit ‘baby & bathwater’.
Ok thank you. This is good advice.

Could it be you are actually using this as a way to blow up & mask your feelings over the previous difficult session, or something else that’s coming up for you - because this feels ‘easier’?
Yes you may be right. I think not only from last session but also the time his reactions in session made me dissociate really badly to the point one of my parts came out in session which was very painful for me. It's really hard to get over that and a trust issue developed from it for sure. Not sure i can get over it.

You may say that's what I should be discussing but I disagree. It's too dangerous for me.
 
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