Sunday, 15 February 2015

Finding Out If a Therapist Is Suitable For You

When working privately, there are many times that potential clients call to inquire as to whether the therapist has the skills needed to treat their child or themselves or another family member. Asking an occupational therapist whether they have experience working with children as opposed to adults or hand therapy versus neuro-therapy or sensory modulation versus grief therapy are perfectly legitimate questions and should take only a minute. If the therapist has the skills and experience to work with you or your family member then suitable questions would be, what is the procedure for treatment, what are your hours and what are your rates. All of this should also take only a few minutes.

When a parent or potential client begins to expect additional time to explain past therapies or to ask for advice, this begins to enter into information that is appropriate for the history that is gained in the interview. The interview, evaluations, advice, guidance, ideas for course of treatment all fall into the consultation and should be paid for in full according to the therapists rates.

After having many situations of potential clients expecting free advice or information followed either by booking a session and then cancelling or not booking as now they have all the information they require, I posted a question on a Facebook group of Ask the Rabbi. I am interested to know whether this behaviour is permissible by Torah law.

The first response I had was from a lawyer who stated:
"I think it would be appropriate to compensate the therapist something for her time, even if not the full amount of the session. He/she did block out time in their schedule for the client / potential client that they can't use for someone else and did spend some time discussing with the potential client. I don't think, given the facts, the potential client must do so, but I think it is the mencshlik thing to do."

After some discussion and comments from another lawyer who mentioned she has the same problem and hence has a rule to give only a few minutes. Any advice requires taking a history which means a consultation. Consultations are paid services.

Rabbi Ari Shishler then commented: 
"Just a Torah insight: One is not allowed to commit "geneivas da'as", which means misleading a person. One example is not to enter a shop and feign interest in a product you have no intention of buying" 

From this post, I hope that potential clients will learn, what kinds of questions are permissible and how long is reasonable to spend asking them. Once you have heard the therapist can or can not treat x group of patients then decide on whether you will work with that therapist. If you need an initial session to make that decision, that is fine, however it is a consultation which must be paid for. As both the rabbi and lawyers point out, misleading a professional or taking their professional time is problematic. The correct thing to do by both Torah law and basic manners is to pay for the professional time you have taken.

Once you book a session, cancelling later becomes "Geneivas Da'as", literally stealing knowledge, especially if the therapist only gave information in order to encourage you to book and keep the session, which is not permitted by Torah law.  

This post was prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
Certified Infant Massage Instructor
Certified Kallah Teacher
Artist, Photographer and Author


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