Your First Appointment
You have worked through the fear, anxiety, or possible excitement and made your first therapy appointment! You might now be saying:
“What happens next?”
This is a very common question anytime that we experience something new. The first appointment, called the intake, is an information gathering session. Before you attend your in person or telehealth appointment, you will have gained access to create a patient portal that will need to be completed prior to your session. On your patient portal you will electronically sign the legal documents and complete the intake form that provides your therapist with your history. We request that your patient portal is created and all documents complete no later than 24 hours before your first session in order to allow your therapist time to review.
The most important part of our first meeting is for you to share information about yourself. There might be one or many reasons as to why you have chosen to start therapy. Regardless of your reason(s), I am here to listen. You are the expert in your life story and I am not here to judge you, only to learn about you. During this appointment, you will share your current obstacle that brought you to therapy and where it started. I may ask additional questions about your childhood or family background to better learn about your development, but you get to decide how much or how little information you share. There are no right or wrong answers, just your personal story to help me learn a little more about you.
At the end of the first appointment we may discuss a tentative diagnosis. This is not a label and does not define you. However, it helps us to formulate realistic goals to guide your treatment. A diagnosis is also required by insurance companies in order to cover the cost for your treatment. You may leave your first session feeling relieved, horrified, more anxious, hopeful, or a combination of any of these feelings and more. That is okay and perfectly normal! You may even leave thinking that you have forgotten to share something important. This is quite common and no cause for worry, we can always talk about it in the next appointment.
At the end of this hour, take a deep breath and breathe a sigh of relief because the hardest day is over! You can leave this first session knowing that I look forward to meeting you again soon and helping to guide you during your journey of positive change.