Sorry I'm late...

For the past 6 months, a client of mine has been consistently between ten and fifteen minutes late for every appointment. She always lets us know - most apologetically - however, in spite of her apologies she continues to be late.

Each time, there is a perfectly plausible reason - it was either the traffic, or the doctor held her up, or there was no parking . However, I believe there is an unconscious reason behind every action and behaviour we exhibit. We are never late for the things that we think are really, really important. We are never late when it is absolutely worth it for us to be on time so what does consistently being late for a regular weekly appointment mean?

I have come to wonder whether there is some ambivalence towards the ongoing therapy. Does she really want to be here? Is she trying to say something through her lateness that she can’t verbalise? However when I ask her she insists “No, not at all.”

A lot of research has gone into the subject of lateness in psychotherapy. If YOU are the sort of person who is always late, ask yourself:

Is it because you don’t want to stop doing whatever you are doing in order to be on time?
Are you being self-destructive?
Are you being overly optimistic with the amount of journey time you have allowed yourself?
Are you doing too much multi tasking and trying to fit too many activities into a limited time?
Or is it simply because you just don't want to be there?