The First Appointment - What To Expect:
Some people wonder what to expect at the first visit. Like your doctor's office we first photocopy your insurance card. Then you will be asked to review and sign two forms. One form explains the legal limitations of CONFIDENTIALITY. The other form reviews the terms of your proposed FINANCIAL AGREEMENT with me. Parents must sign these forms for children under age 18. Finally, we complete basic registration items like address and phone numbers.
Once this paperwork is completed we begin the "clinical" part of the meeting. The initial session is divided into 3 parts: 1) Your description of the "presenting problem," that is why you are seeking help for yourself, your family or your son or daughter; 2) the second part of the meeting is devoted to reviewing the personal history of the client or the family. This could include prior attempts at counseling, childhood history, educational and social history, present and typical mood and emotional state, and work history; 3) the last part of the initial session is devoted to "treatment planning," that is, deciding what to "work on." This may involve setting "short term goals," deciding if structured assessment tools should be deployed (for example, a depression or anxiety rating scale), or discussing if other professionals should be involved, for example, a referral to a psychiatrist to consider medication. Plans may then be made for a follow up appointment.
This summary was intended to provide a glimpse into a standard
first appointment. Certainly, client needs and interests vary and
so may the emphasis given to the topics addressed in the initial
Address and directions:
There is free parking available.
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