Just skimmed, “‘I apologize for being late’: The courteous psychotherapist” (in the 2008 (v. 45:2)Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, pp 273-277) by Rolfs Pinkerton. Pinkerton details how our bad behaviors can harm (gasp!) the therapeutic alliance but that courteousness and correcting the behavior can help alleviate the problem. No surprise here.
But wait, what are some of the bad behaviors (no not the really bad and really obvious ones) he’s concerned about. Let’s see how we rate:
1. Being more than 15 minutes late. Apologies help but if it is a regular problem then…
Hmm. I’m usually 5 minutes late. Does that count as bad?
2. Falling asleep or being obviously worn out.
I try to solve this by drinking caffeine.
3. Forgetting names, using the wrong one or the wrong pronunciation.
So, when I pray for my “brother” or “sister” is it obvious that I’ve forgotten their name? Actually, I do pray that way sometimes and I haven’t forgotten a thing.
4. Repeatedly checking the clock.
I have an internal clock and so I try not to ever look. Probably why I’m regularly 10 minutes behind by the end of the day. So, how much is too much?
5. Taking calls.
Never do that. But I have forgotten to silence the phone. I hate it when that happens.
6. Drinking or eating in front of the client without offering some.
Oops. Did I mention that I caffeinate? Didn’t think that was rude. Hmmm. I have clients coming in bringing their Starbucks and I never feel left out. I wouldn’t eat in front of them. Do I get partial credit?
How about you? If you are a counselor, what are your faux pas? If you ever were a client, what annoying (not illegal or immoral ones–those are pretty clear) habits irk/irked you? (Be gentle with us and be sure to protect the guilty. We’re rather fragile.)