I can’t believe I’ve never found PsychCentral before! This is a great site. There is a story on the front page that I thought I would touch on, The 12 Most Annoying Bad Habits of Therapists. I want to comment on a few of them.
1. Showing Up Late for an Appointment
This one should go without saying. I can’t believe that someone would have to tell you to be in time.
2. Eating In Front of a Client
Do people actually do this? I’m only a case manager, and the place that I work has a water tower and coffee that are free to the clients and staff, so we do a lot of drinking in the office, but eating? During a session?? That’s just crazy.
3. Excessive Yawning or Sleeping During a Session
Yawning sometimes can’t be helped. It’s all well and good to say you should get a good night’s sleep, but when you work a job that has on-call hours, it isn’t always possible. Of course, explaining this to a client would be good.
6. Distracted by Phone, E-mail, or a Pet
I know someone who works in the field who will answer her cell phone at any time, with a client or in a meeting with the boss. I know some of her co-workers would like to jam that phone someplace very uncomfortable, too. It’s annoying for everyone, clients and co-workers alike. If your wife is pregnant, and she’s in the third trimester, it’s okay to check the cell phone to see if it’s her number otherwise, don’t.
And pets? Do these people even think about allergies?
5. Inappropriate Disclosures
7. Expressing Racial, Sexual, Music, Lifestyle, or Religious Preferences.
These are really the same thing. I learned early on to not let clients too far into my life, but I have seen this happen before.
I like the music thing here. I could see myself getting into an argument with a client about the greatness of Pearl Jam, or, for you old guys, the Rolling Stones vs. The Beatles.
9. Hugging or Physical Contact
I’m not a hugger. And it really tells you something about the state of mind of some people that you have to explicitly state that having sex with your client is inappropriate. There’s an old saying where we work; every rule exist because someone screwed up in the past.
11. Clock Watching
12. Excessive Note Taking
Ah, the two things I’m probably going to be most guilty of. If you don’t keep track of the time, you end up with a Number 1 with your next client. I have cut back on the note taking, though.
I have a friend who works as a counselor, and he has a good way of doing things. He lets the client stay for a whole hour instead of 50 minutes if thy want to help recap the session for the note. I like that.
You should read the whole list. It’s rather good.