I know it’s totally unrealistic of me, but I don’t want anyone to have to use this script. At some point those of us in private practice for an extended period of time will have to manage a situation like this. You may not be able to do it over the phone; I know I won’t be able to when I imagine some of my closest people passing. I recommend emailing and immediately following up with a text message alerting them to the fact that you’ve emailed. This script may vary widely depending on your client population, but for my high functioning, care-taker clients I’d say the following:
Subject: Important: Canceling next appointment
Body: [Client], I’m sorry to cancel but I’ve had a death in the family and will be out of the office until XX/XX (if you know the date)/for the next few weeks (if you don’t). In my absence, if you need immediate care, I’ve arranged for [Trusted Colleague] to see you. You can contact him/her at [phone number]. I’m very sorry this is so last minute and will be back in touch to confirm our next appointment.
Hi [Client] it’s [First Name]. I just sent you an email and wanted to make sure you got it ASAP. No need to respond; I just wanted to ensure that you check it before we’re scheduled to see each other.
If They Respond
Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words/prayers/thoughts/however they framed it.