Clients answering phone during session

This section is for questions relating to therapy, assessment, formulation and other aspects of working with people in mental health services.

Post Reply
Potato
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:53 am

Clients answering phone during session

Post by Potato » Thu May 10, 2018 11:16 am

What would people do if clients answered a (non urgent) call about their grandson's dinner plans during a session?

Advertisement
Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit: pearsonclinical.co.uk/cpf
User avatar
firegal
Team Member
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:55 pm

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by firegal » Thu May 10, 2018 11:40 am

I probably would not do anything while they're on the phone, and to be honest, being me I would probably not address it if it was a one off (though I think I probably should) but if it was a repeated thing, answering calls or messing with the phone, I would have a conversation about the importance of therapy sessions as a protected space and how the phone disrupts that. I'd be curious about why the client hasn't turned the phone off in sessions (not prioritising sessions and/or their needs, anxiety about what might be going on outside, avoidance of the topics being discussed etc) and look for a resolution, hopefully something along the lines of the phone being on silent or off during session.

Potato
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:53 am

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by Potato » Thu May 10, 2018 11:49 am

Thanks firegal. I agree and understand I should address it with the client but it's so awkward to question someone's basic manners and actually I found it insulting that a client would answer a non urgent call during our session. I cant imagine doing this to my GP or in any other appointment setting!

User avatar
workingmama
Team Member
Posts: 1389
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by workingmama » Thu May 10, 2018 9:15 pm

I wouldn't be questioning their manners, I would be questioning what it meant for them to be taking calls during their time. If I'm insulted (and I would be too, a little), that's something about my ego and how I feel the need for my client to hold me in esteem.
Fail, fail again, fail better.

User avatar
maven
Site Admin
Posts: 2019
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by maven » Fri May 11, 2018 2:25 am

Indeed, I'd ask with genuine curiosity whether they were expecting an urgent call and why they took a non-urgent one, as it seems like avoiding or devaluing the thing they are actually there to do.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

Potato
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:53 am

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by Potato » Mon May 14, 2018 9:55 am

Thank you for your responses. I think you both have a valid point about checking my own ego. It didn't help that I was having my own bad day at the time. I felt worse because it felt like the client was doing this to just test my response. I feel disappointed I didn't do anything at the time because I was so upset with her. Something for supervision for sure!

User avatar
workingmama
Team Member
Posts: 1389
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:54 pm
Location: UK

Re: Clients answering phone during session

Post by workingmama » Thu May 17, 2018 7:47 am

It's so hard to check where we're at ourselves, recognize that and manage it, right there in the session, isn't it? Possibly you're right in that they may well have been checking your response. I have said directly to clients in my own sessions that I felt that they were doing X,Y,Z to check my response and that I wondered how they thought I might be feeling/thinking [thinking very hard about adolescent patients who have done something particularly outrageous to try to elicit a response!]. Hope that helps.
Fail, fail again, fail better.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests