When Clients No-Show: An Empirical Analogue Study of Psychologists’ Response Strategies
Empirical studies of psychotherapists’ responses to clients who no-show, i.e., fail to attend appointments without notification or follow-up, are notably absent from the literature. The current study surveyed licensed psychologists to assess their responses to outpatient no-show situations. Participants responded to one of two vignettes depicting a client diagnosed with either major depression with a history of suicidality or generalized anxiety disorder. Results indicated that across conditions, the majority of psychotherapists would attempt to contact the client who no-showed; would make their first attempt within a few days of the no-show; would make repeat attempts if necessary; and would rely primarily on phone calls to the client’s cell and home numbers as methods of contact. Compared to those who responded to the vignette featuring the anxious client, participants who responded to the vignette featuring the depressed client reported a significantly shorter wait between the no-show and the contact attempt and a significantly greater number of contact attempts. Implications and clinical relevance are discussed.