Missed hypnosis appointment
When hypnotherapists get together it always comes round to talking about appointment cancellations and no-shows and what to do about it. Some therapists want their clients to sign legal agreements with various penalties for not turning up for their appointment, or with rules for how much notice they have to give. I think the bad feeling that comes from trying to enforce appointments outweighs any benefit. I don't do it.
I have no-shows just like everybody else, but I just accept it as part of normal business. You will have cancellations, missed appointments, and bad payers in every business. You are especially likely to have them when your clients are mostly people with psychological problems that they need help with.
So if missed appointment is always going to be a problem, what is the right policy?
For no shows, my policy is to try to minimize it occurring, and then to just accept it when it happens. I use a commercial online booking service that lets the client select the appointment time they want from a show of available times. The process collects their email address and sends them online stuff to read about hypnosis, what they have to do before the session, answers to common questions, and instructions on how to get there, parking etc. The software sends them a reminder the day before or on the Friday for a weekend appointment. I find that the reminder is the most effective way of avoiding no-shows.
Cancellation is a deliberate action by the client. The service I use allows the client to reschedule appointments or to cancel bookings altogether. They can change their bookings as often as they want. I think the best policy is to be flexible and to allow the client to select the time that is best for them, accepting that sometimes they have to cancel at short notice.
When I client doesn't turn up I usually have lots of paperwork I have to do anyway, and I can do it during the free time that suddenly appears, instead of after I have seen the last client. I don't see a missed appointment as a big deal.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.