What Happens During the Your First Session?
The first session known as the DIAGNOSTICE 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.
Decide on the modality that would best accommodate your concern(s) - Individual, Couples/Family, or Group.
Rule out using an EAP or other Work-Life Balance Program, to include an educational school based program (full-time students). In most cases, no mental health diagnosis is needed, and services are at no cost to you.
Determine whether it would be more cost effective to utilize your insurance, or self-pay (to include tapping into work related flex spending programs in which you may petition for reimbursement via your employer). Keep in mind that though therapy is confidential, a treatment diagnosis and information would be shared with your insurance carrier if insurance is used to supplement your financial responsibility. The diagnosis is also mandatory to justify the medical necessity of your need for treatment, just as it would be when visiting the doctor who monitors your physical health. Just as with EAP programs, no diagnosis is required for self-paying clients.
If using EAP, you will be given referrals by the EAP vendor regarding what therapists currently accepts their payment. If using insuarance, contact the insurance company to inquire whether the therapist you are interested is within your plan's network, or what your out-of-pocket cost would be if the therapist is out of the network (normally a tad higher).
If using insurance, inquire with your carrier whether you have to first meet a deductible before they will assist with the cost for sessions. -Keep in mind that your co-payment for behavior health may be different from your medical.
Set up either a phone consultation, or your first Intake appointment with the therapist/counselor. Be prepared to provide demographic information and insurance information to allow our office the ability to make contact with your plan to obtain information about your eligibility for services.
What Should You Bring to The First Session?