The first session known as the DIAGNOSTIC INTAKE, allows the therapist to learn more about your physical, social, biological, and psychological histories by asking a series of questions- but it also allows you the forum to determine whether the therapist is a great fit for you, and/or your family.
Sessions last on average 50 minutes, so use this time to disclose as much as possible about your prior contacts with professionals who have assisted you in the past, and those who are currently assisting you with your concerns. Expect to elaborate while describing the symptoms that you have experienced in the past, or currently experiences currently. Needed is information on how those symptoms impact your daily living and ability to function along with how you feel emotionally each day. It would also be helpful for you to inform what strategies and processes you have already engaged that were either helpful, or not so helpful. Keep in mind, the therapeutic relationship requires partnership, therefore, concerns cannot be addressed if they are not disclosed. If you don’t feel comfortable disclosing during the first session, know that you can disclose at other points during the course of establishing a trusting relationship with your therapist. This is time set aside to address whatever is concerning to you, and such will be received without judgment.
At the conclusion of the session- the therapist will inform whether he/she is equipped to assist you with your concerns. If not, referrals will be offered. Being that you are seeking to hire a professional to assist through the next stage of life, you also maintain the power through choice to decide whether you believe the therapist can be of any assistance to you, and/or your family. If you both agree to move forward in establishing a therapeutic relationship- a few preliminary goals will be established, and in some cases therapy, or EAP services will commence same day- if time permits.
What Should I Bring to The First Session?
Insurance Cards for each party receiving services
Form of Payment, if a co-payment is due
Completed Intake Form
Completed Consent Form
HIPAA Notification Form
Completed Release of Information Form (as needed)
QUESTIONS - regarding any areas in need of clarification
HOW PRIVATE IS my information?
We use an email encryption program that secures your insurance and privacy information. Once it is determined that you will become a new patient, we will forward a request for Insurance Verification related information via a secure email. You simply click on the UNLOCK button within the email. A separate email will be sent to your email address asking you to verify your address. Once you open the new email and verify your address, the message will be revealed. Help us secure your information by using that email link to return information to ensure encryption and mitigate the risk of a breach- whether it's a form you are sending back in advance or you are just responding to our request for specific information.
If your provider has not yet provided you with a HIPAA Notification, please gently remind either the provider or admin staffer and such will be provided.
will you tell anyone i'm seeing a counselor?
The fact that you are visiting our office and the reason for such visits is kept confidential. We are mandated to not share your information unless you sign a release giving us permission to share. There are times in which your counselor will ask to share information with members of your medical team, but even then, the content of your conversations are not shared.
There are, however, exceptions to confidentiality:
Disclosure of PLAN to HARM yourself;
Disclosure of PLAN to HARM others; and
Disclosure of ACTS of child abuse/elder abuse.
Will I HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATION?
The decision to add a new medication to address your psychological, emotional, or cognitive concern is a decision that you will make in conjunction with your primary care physician, psychiatrist, or nurse practitioner.
If you are already taking psychotropic medications at the time you hire us to provide you, or your family, with emotional support- we recommend that you continue to be compliant with your medical team's orders until he/she/they decide that your medication, or dosage should be changed. It is also advisable that you attend all scheduled medical follow-up appointments with your medical team to monitor and review the impact of the medications on your health.
Regardless of the number of medical professionals, or specialist that you visit, it is important that you, or your care-giver, keep your primary medical health care provider in the loop regarding all new treatments and medications, to include changes in dosage. By doing so, you will better arm your primary medical health provider with the most updated information about your health to allow for more solid decisions and recommendations as it relates to your care. Equally important, updating all of your medical providers at each contact will prevent the over-lapping of redundant treatments, and assists in minimizing the risk of you experiencing adverse reactions that can be associated with prescribed medications.