Why People Skip Therapy Sessions?

Written By

Ava Cheng


Fact Checked

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Therapy can provide enormous benefits for those struggling with mental health issues or going through challenging life events.

However, even those who recognize the value of therapy may fail to attend scheduled sessions. Understanding the common barriers can help therapists support clients in regularly attending appointments.

Practical Obstacles Get in the Way

Life gets busy, making it hard to keep therapy sessions, especially if they require traveling to an office.

Scheduling Conflicts

Work schedules, childcare issues, or other commitments may clash with standing therapy appointments.

People juggle many responsibilities, and therapy may end up low on the priority list.

Lack of Transportation

Some clients rely on public transportation or others for rides.

Transportation breakdowns can impede making sessions, especially if the therapy office is not nearby.

Reminder and Tracking Failures

Despite good intentions, people forget appointments without reminders. If therapists don’t confirm upcoming sessions, clients may inadvertently miss them.

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Emotional Barriers Create Resistance

Even when practical barriers don’t exist, emotional reasons may hinder session attendance. Therapy brings up difficult feelings.

Anxiety and Discomfort

Talking about emotions provokes anxiety for many. The thought of scheduled sessions may trigger panicking or avoidance.

Lack of Connection

The therapeutic relationship is vital. Clients may resist attending if they don’t have a good rapport with their counselor.

Perceived Lack of Progress

Clients who feel therapy is not helping may stop attending whether it’s online or in-office sessions, even if the therapist sees benefits.

Scheduling conflictsWork, childcare, other commitments get in the way
Lack of transportationNo reliable way to get to therapy office
Forgetting appointmentsWithout reminders, sessions get missed
Anxiety about therapyDiscussing issues causes emotional distress
Poor connection with therapistJudgment or criticism from therapist deters attendance
Not seeing progressClient frustration if therapy seems unhelpful

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Therapists Can Remove Barriers

Therapists have options to help clients overcome obstacles to attending:

Offer Flexible Scheduling

Accommodate clients’ schedules whenever possible, including evenings and weekends. Provide remote options via teletherapy to eliminate transportation problems.

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Send Session Reminders

Give clients email or text reminders about upcoming appointments. Automated systems can help, but personal confirmations show the care.

Check In Around Resistance

Ask directly if anything makes clients hesitant about therapy. Discussing barriers promotes solutions. If progress lags, explore different approaches.

Convey Unconditional Positive Regard

Clients will open up more if they feel completely accepted, not judged. Prioritize understanding over agreement.

Making therapy work around clients’ real lives and meeting them where they are emotionally can get attendance on track. The therapeutic relationship provides the foundation.

While clients must show up, therapists also play a role in breaking down barriers.

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About the author

Ava Cheng

Ava Cheng

Hey there, I'm Ava Cheng—an inquisitive soul originally from Hong Kong now based in Singapore. As a physiotherapist, I have a passion for understanding women's health and the crossroads of medicine and psychology. Living in the heart of Singapore, I'm on a constant journey to explore the latest trends in these fascinating fields. The human body and mind never fail to amaze me, and I'm determined to unravel their mysteries one discovery at a time. Let's embark on this intellectual adventure together! Social

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