What should I expect at my first intake session?
After calling to schedule your first appointment, our scheduling secretary will send you a welcome email. In this email there will be important information regarding your first visit. The email will contain a link to the Patient Portal where you will fill out a detailed questionnaire regarding what is bringing you to counseling at this time. Your therapist will read over this information prior to your first appointment so please include anything you would like them to know. The paperwork will also explain confidentiality, payment and office policies. If you have any questions about what is contained in the paperwork, please feel free to contact our office manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are scheduling for your child and he or she is under the age of 18 then a parent is required to attend the first session of counseling. Your therapist will mainly be gathering information at this first appointment from both the parents and the child to assess what the main issues are so you can begin to create a treatment plan together.
This first session is also important for your child to develop a relationship of safety and trust with their therapist. Depending on the age of your child, your therapist may play a game, do a short activity and just spend time getting to know your child. The goal is to have your child be excited about coming back to therapy next time.
What is your office’s policy regarding confidentiality with minors?
Confidentiality is a crucial part of the therapeutic relationship at any age. If an adolescent client believes that everything they tell their therapist will eventually be told to their parents then they will not be honest and open with their therapist, resulting in little progress therapeutically. Your child’s therapist will not however encourage keeping secrets from their parents and will always encourage open and honest communication within the family.
However, if at anytime the therapist feels that your child is a danger to themselves or others, then they will confide in you about their sessions to keep your child safe. Your therapist will also give you updates regarding your child’s progress in therapy and speak in generalities without breaking confidentiality. Feel free to speak with your child’s therapist individually if you have any further questions.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason isn’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to access your past strengths. In our work together, we’ll help you identify what those strengths are and how to implement them again in what is happening now.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behavior and teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. We tailor our therapeutic approachs to your specific needs.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
We are so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.