My Therapist Didn’t Show Up

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: I don’t know how to handle my therapist not showing up to my first appointment with her. I’ve been crying all day, and had to have a beer and shot of tequila because I felt everything I already think about women and the ways I’ve been treated by them are NOW completely validated.

She called to apologize, but I am so disappointed and don’t know if I really want to go through the first appointment anxieties AGAIN. I feel it was very wrong and honestly I don’t know what to think about the timing since I’ve already been dealing with issues with other women in my life. This has really made me feel unimportant, unworthy, and apparently I can’t even pay a woman to pretend to care about me for an hour.

A: Therapists are like everyone else — quite human. Sometimes life hands us emergencies or situations where we need to make difficult choices about priorities. Sometimes we’re just dumb. Yes, she didn’t show. But there may have been a good reason. Or maybe she had one of those bad days we humans all have now and then. One disappointment is hardly reason to write her off. Your therapist apologized. I’m assuming she offered you another appointment. Before you judge her, I think it’s only fair that you make up up your mind about seeing her for therapy after you’re had a chance to meet her.

I’m very concerned that as a woman you have such a low opinion about women in general. Being “stood up” may have triggered your feelings about yourself as much as your feelings about the therapist. You didn’t “have to have a drink,” you chose to — which was a way to dull your feelings in the moment but didn’t help you deal with your underlying feelings of unworthiness.

I hope you will get some therapy — whether with the therapist who disappointed you or someone else. At 42, you’ve lived with negative feelings for quite long enough. With some good therapeutic work, you could have another 40+ years to enjoy a more positive self-esteem and better relationships with other women.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Aug 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). My Therapist Didn’t Show Up. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/08/30/my-therapist-didnt-show-up/