Our initial conversation will likely take place on the telephone. This is a chance for you to ask any questions that you have, and determine if you would like to meet.
If we meet
At the beginning of the session, we will start by discussing confidentiality, as it is important that you understand privacy and possible limits of confidentiality. It is my experience that clients appreciate knowing that sessions are confidential, with only a few exceptions. (See policies)
Our first session will be a chance to get to know each other. During the first appointment I will be asking lots of questions to learn as much as possible about you and the difficulties that you are experiencing which caused you to seek help. During this assessment phase, I may ask you to fill in questionnaires to gain further information. This first appointment is also an opportunity for you to ask additional questions and raise any concerns you may have.
The goal of the assessment is to understand your difficulties, and determine your goals for treatment. We will discuss strategies that can be used when working on your particular issue, and the pros and cons of the different approaches. It is important that we discuss expectations – both your expectations for change, and expectations of the approach. Some approaches are less structured; whereas with other approaches there would be the expectation that work be completed in between sessions, such as reading, completing worksheets, and trying different exercises.
We will also discuss whether we want to continue to work together. When engaging in therapy, not only is it important that your therapist has the expertise to help with your particular problem, but there also needs to be a good fit with the style and approach. I want to make sure that I feel competent in being able to work with you on your particular difficulties. It is equally important that you work with someone that you feel is a good match for you – someone you can trust, and who you feel gets where you’re coming from.
If we decide to work together, we will develop a plan, including the approach and the frequency we can meet. Sometimes this assessment phase takes more than one session.