If you would like to further explore the possibility of working together, the first thing to do is to give me a call. I will welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you might have. Also, I'd like to get a general idea of the concerns and/or goals that are prompting you to consider therapy. I’ll want to make sure there is a match between your needs and my skills and experience. More than likely there will be. However, if you have a specific issue that I have limited experience with (for example, if your primary concern is an eating disorder) and you have not yet explored treatment with specialists in that area, I may refer you to someone else. These initial phone calls usually don't take more than 15 minutes or so (and, of course, are free of charge). If you decide you’d like to schedule your first session, we can do so during this call. Whenever possible, I prefer scheduling a 75 minute time slot for the first session.
Let me give you an idea of what to expect from our initial meeting. The main purpose of a first session is for us to get to know one another. For my part, I'll want to build on our phone conversation and develop a more thorough understanding of what brings you to therapy. I’ll be interested to hear about your hopes and aspirations. And I’ll want to get some idea of what life looks like for you now. Ideally, our discussion will not only inform me, but will also further your process of self-exploration. At some point, usually by the end of our first meeting, I will share with you some ideas about how me might proceed. Together, in collaboration, we’ll develop a shared understanding of what we are working to accomplish during our time together and how we are going to go about it. This first session is also an opportunity for you to get a sense of how it would be to work with me. It is important that you find a therapist who is a good match for you and it is perfectly okay to think of the first sessions with a therapist as a kind of trial run.
During the course of therapy, I will regularly check in with you about how you are feeling about our relationship and the therapy process. I will do this even if it seems obvious that you are making good progress because my experience (and research) shows that there is a lot of benefit in reflecting together on the so-called “process-level” of therapy. Maintaining open communication and feedback allows us to make the most often small (but sometimes large) adjustments necessary for you to get the most out your time and effort.
There are two pieces of paperwork I will ask you to complete. These are available below and under the Client Resources tab. The first is an "Agreement for Psychotherapy Services." The purpose of this form is to help ensure that you have key information about my psychotherapy practice. It will be fine for you to read and sign it at my office, but it will save a few minutes of session time if you have read it before hand. If you’d like, you can print it out and bring in a signed copy.
The second piece of paperwork is an Information Questionnaire. In addition to basic contact information, this form asks some questions about medical history and current health related aspects of lifestyle. For some clients, particularly those experiencing troublesome emotions, physical factors are significant contributors that too often go unidentified and unaddressed. This form is an efficient way to draw our attention toward anything on the physical level that might be important. Filling out this form in advance saves session time, but if you prefer, we can discuss in person what feels relevant to you. You may bring the completed form to our first session or you may email it ahead of time. (However, please note that email can never be considered a completely secure and confidential form of communication.)