Dear Amy:

I have a stressful job and work long hours.

Because of all the stress, I have begun to see a psychologist. A few weeks ago, I went to a session after work. I was so exhausted that I nodded off during the session. When I woke up a few minutes later, I saw that my psychologist had dozed off too! He jarred himself awake, just as I did, and he tried to act as if nothing had happened.

I didn't say anything and let it go, but last week it happened again.

This time I woke up 30 seconds before he did.

He profusely apologized, and he gave me an excuse about staying up late caring for his infant son.

I'm not sure what I should do about this. He didn't offer to give me the session for free. In fact, I paid his entire $150 rate.

What should I do? Drop him? Report him? Ask for my money back? Do nothing at all?

Is this common with psychologists?

I have no idea of how to handle this.

MK in Studio City, Calif.Sometimes people in therapy find that they "shut down" to the extent that they become sleepy during a session -- either as an avoidance from talking about difficult things or because they find their therapist's office a safe and comfortable place.

And sometimes, to paraphrase Freud, you're just plain tired.

The ideal place to talk about this is during a therapy session, and your therapist should help you to do that. The fact that he tried to gloss over something that happened in his office during your session, then further explained away his own behavior, means that you need to find a new therapist.

You are obliged to pay for your session no matter what you do during it -- including sleeping, crying, checking your BlackBerry or staring silently at the clock.

However, your therapist's first duty to you is to stay awake and alert during your session -- even if you happen to fall asleep. He owes you a refund and the offer of a referral to another therapist.

Don't give up on therapy. Next time, bring a cup of coffee or tea with you, and don't lie down during your session.

Dear Amy:

I'd like to know your opinion about people who make you take off your shoes when you enter their homes.

Doesn't it seem awkward to be invited to a dinner or some type of party and have everyone in their stocking feet -- or even barefoot?

If you do not feel comfortable removing your shoes, should you ignore their wishes?

These same people who want me to remove my shoes do not seem to take their shoes off in other people's homes.

Wipe Your FeetLike you, I don't like to take off my shoes when I'm in someone else's home (unless it is snowy or muddy outside -- or expected for cultural reasons).

Readers who advocate the "no shoes in the house" rule tell me that they thoughtfully provide socks or slippers for guests to wear, but now I'm going to go way out on a limb and admit that I don't want to wear someone else's socks or slippers, either.

When people ask guests to remove their shoes at the threshold, it is safe to conclude that they value their hardwood floors or pristine carpets more than they value the comfort of their guests.

Dear Amy:

Why do so many people think it is okay to blow their nose while dining out?

My mother taught me to excuse myself from the table and head to the men's room if I felt the need to blow my nose. If my nose was a little runny from my meal, I was taught to dab it until I had to blow it, in which case it was off to the men's room.

Was my mother one of a few who taught table manners?

Or was that lesson overkill and I am too sensitive?

Disgusted in D.C.Your mother did a fine job with you, but this isn't just a question of being taught good manners.

Sometimes, all people have to do to determine tolerable behavior is imagine how much they enjoy watching people:

· Blow their nose.

· Pick their teeth.

· Talk on their cellphones at the table.

Not having a thoughtful and etiquette-minded parent is no excuse for engaging in behavior that common sense tells you is obnoxious.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2007 by the Chicago Tribune

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