|Ellen Whyte, gift certificates for therapy sessions
Do you want to pay for a friend's therapy sessions? Or perhaps for your sibling or parent?
Paying for someone else's sessions is a kind gesture, but there are some ethical considerations. Thankfully, I've figured out a fix for this a few days ago, so no worries! See the end of this post :)
But first, let me explain why paying for someone else's session is an issue.
First, people who go in for therapy knowing that someone else is paying for it, often feel guilty. "I should be woman/man/adult/successful enough to pay my own way."
And because of this, they want to rush. "Can you fix me in one session, because I don't want to burden my friend/employer." But therapy works best when everyone is calm and thoughtful. Rushing tends to lead to poor results.
Second, getting help with mental health issues is a very personal matter. As personal as debts or having surgery for your private parts. And when someone else is paying, they know when you have a session.
With considerate givers, they pay and ask no questions. Even so, the person knows that they know, and it's uncomfortable. Maybe they feel pressure to report back. And that's uncomfortable because therapy is really, really private.
With less considerate givers, they say 'helpful' things like, "I just paid for your session. How's it going? You seem so much better!" While it's well meant, it rams home the knowledge that private matters are not very private, and that is uncomfortable.
In the past I have asked people to gift money to those they want to sponsor. But this week I had a brainwave and came up with an elegant solution: gift cards!
You may buy as many or few as you like, and hand them to whoever you like. They can use them when they like and nobody is the wiser.
And to make sure that it stays totally secret when or if these cards are used, the buyer gets no feedback. Just like when you give someone a book token, the bookshop doesn't tell you if it's redeemed or not, I will never tell which gift cards have been used.
Let me know what you think? And contact me if you want to gift mental health to a friend or family member.