Advice for New Therapists || Don’t Work Harder Than Your Clients (Burnout)


Working harder than your client? Knock that stuff off!! Therapists should not (yea, I used the s word- should) work harder than their clients and this is why (you gotta watch the video!).

And here’s the verbiage for the letter. It’s just a suggestion; not some standard or anything. And you’re probably nicer than me and can word it better. 🙂

Dear Client,

Due to the non-participation conditions identified in our agreement (multiple last-minute cancellations / no-shows), your file is being closed (or, our sessions have been terminated). Please consider returning to services when therapy can be a priority in your life.

The following are suggestions of providers / counseling agencies you may be interested in when you are ready:

1) other provider or agency one
2) other provider or agency two
3) other provider or agency three

Please remember, there is currently an outstanding balance of $X on your account.

I wish you the best,

Thera Pist, LMFT

Of course, you would have mentioned this concern (and documented it in your progress notes!) prior to sending the letter. If you want, you can add in the dates that you two discussed the no-shows or late cancellations during sessions. I haven’t added that in my sample letter because, by the time they receive this letter, they know. They know.

The part about other providers or agencies is that ‘referral to three other providers’ thing that we have to do. This is especially important if you believe that you are not a good fit for this client and would prefer that they seek other options when/if they become ready to engage in the therapeutic process.


Therapy is a commitment. It won’t work unless you work it. A therapist has the ethical obligation to avoid creating dependency and to avoid engaging in therapy when the client is not benefiting from the therapy. A therapist also has an ethical obligation to engage in self-care (not getting burn-out).

Questions you would like answered in a video? DM me @TweetmentPlan on Twitter.

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‘Can We Talk?’ is on online therapy youtube channel dedicated to psychology, therapy, relationships, healthy living, well-being and the like. It should not be considered therapy, nor a substitute for therapy. If you need help with any mental, emotional, family or relational struggle, please seek help from a qualified professional in your area.

Melinda Haynes, LMFT California license no 102308


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