Once you have made your appointment, you will be asked to complete a few forms. You can complete these forms either before or during your first meeting. These forms ask basic information about your:
- Telephone, email and address information
- Emergency contact’s telephone, email and address information
- Medical history
- Current prescriptions/medications
- Prior experience in psychotherapy
- Presenting concerns
- History of drug and alcohol use
- History of trauma, if any
- Initial goals for therapy
If you currently being seen by a psychiatrist or other health care professional, your therapist may also ask you to complete a Release of Information. It is your choice whether to consent.
Your First Meeting
During your first meeting, most therapists will ask you some preliminary questions as a way of getting to know you and your reasons for seeking therapy. These questions might include:
- What concerns bring you to therapy at this time?
- Have you been in therapy before? If so, what was most helpful or problematic about the experience?
- What are you hoping to experience, accomplish or discover in therapy?
- How long do you expect to come for therapy?
During your first session, we also encourage you to ask your therapist any questions you may have. The following questions are typical:
- What is your general therapeutic orientation and approach?
- Do you have any areas of specialty?
- How frequently or long do you typically see clients?
- Do you take insurance?
- Are you available for phone sessions?
- What is your position on medication?
- How active are you in session?
The Importance of Match
Scientific research has identified that psychotherapy is effective. It has also been demonstrated that the effectiveness of the therapeutic process depends more on the quality of interpersonal rapport between a therapist and client than a therapist’s techniques, education or approach. It is believed that the relationship between a therapist and client is the most significant predictor of therapeutic success. We encourage your to consider how you feel in the presence of your new therapist as a way of deciding whether he, she or they are a “good match” for you. Remember, sometimes it takes a few appointments to get a true sense of what it might be like to work with someone.
There are laws that protect the communication between a client and therapist. In most cases, the information you share with your therapist cannot and will not be disclosed to anyone without your written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality include:
- Suspected child abuse, dependent abuse or elder abuse.
- Threats of serious physical harm to others
Does Insurance Cover Therapy?
In some cases, insurance plans can help cover the cost of therapy. Check directly with your insurance company to inquire about your plan’s coverage. Here are some questions that might be helpful to ask:
- What mental health benefits do I have under my plan?
- Do I have out of network benefits?
- Can I see an intern under my plan?
- How much will insurance cover per session?
- How many sessions will be covered?
- Do I have coverage to see an out-of-network provider? At what level?
- Do I need prior approval from my primary care physician?
- Will I need a diagnostic evaluation for insurance purposes?