What happens during the first appointment?

What happens during the first appointment?

Sometimes people wonder what it would be like to visit a therapist for the first time. I have found that people often feel more at ease when they have a little information.  Here’s a basic outline of what is likely to happen if you schedule a consultation with me:

You are welcome to contact me via phone or email to schedule our first appointment.  I will let you know whether or not I am able to accept new clients at that time. If I can’t, I can help you find another therapist to work with.  Our appointment will be considered a consultation: a “trial” to see whether it would seem like a good fit for us to work together.  I would not be considered to be your therapist unless we both agree to that, at the end of our appointment.  

To save time on our meeting day, I will ask whether or not it’s okay to email my intake documents, for you to print and fill out at home.  Some people prefer to use email for the sake of convenience. Other people prefer to not use email for privacy reasons–because email can be vulnerable to hacking, or other electronic snooping.  If you’d prefer to not use email, then I’ll ask you to show up about 15 minutes early for our appointment, so that you can fill them out in my office.

My intake documents ask for information like your name, address, phone number, etc. I also ask you to provide basic information about your family, life history and physical/mental health history. All of the information you provide to me is confidential and can only be disclosed under certain circumstances (which are outlined in the privacy documents I will also provide to you). Some examples of those circumstances include: Child abuse (of a child who is currently under age 18), elder abuse, abuse of a disabled person, danger to yourself or others, subpoena or court order, and/or a release of information signed by you.

Here are a few pictures of my office:

 

 

My office does have wheelchair access.  The accessible entrance is via another therapy office in my suite, so if you require wheelchair access, please let me know ahead of time so that I can make sure that access is available when you plan to arrive.  

When you come in for the first time, I do my best to help you feel comfortable and at ease.  We talk about your life circumstances and what brought you to see me.  I do take notes during the first session, to help me form a framework in my head about what’s going on in your life. We talk about what is and isn’t working, and your goals for therapy.  I start to provide you with information about the body and nervous system, and how they might be contributing to your symptoms.  If you haven’t tried somatically based therapy before, I might gently start to introduce you to the method, so that you can try it and see whether or not you feel it’s for you.

By the end of the appointment, we should both have a reasonably clear hypothesis or idea as to what’s going on, and I can outline how I would suggest addressing it. We will let each other know whether or not it feels like a good fit.  I will let you know whether or not I feel I am able to help you. If not, I can help you find someone else to work with.  You would also let me know whether you feel comfortable in working with me and whether or not you wish to proceed.  If we both agree to proceed, we would then schedule our next appointment.

Of course, this is only a general outline. My work is flexible moment to moment according to the client’s needs.

Here is where you can find my contact information, if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

 

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