What to Expect
Before anything else, I do a free initial phone consultation to determine if what you need fits my education and experience. It also helps to insure that other more immediate concerns don’t require a referral- for instance, in the case that there might be a medical cause for what someone is struggling with.
The First Meeting
After the initial phone consult, we arrange for a face to face meeting for an hour and a half (the equivalent of two sessions). I think it’s not enough time to try and complete an assessment within just one session. The goal is to get to know one another, and for me to do an assessment of the presenting problem(s) and history. After this meeting if we decide to work together then you would pay for both sessions. However, if I end up having to provide you with a referral to another therapist, then you don’t have to pay me for that time. It’s important to me to do things this way because I don’t think anyone should have to pay to “experiment” with therapists.
Sometimes this meeting is “structured”. People often don’t know what to do when they come in, so I’ll start by doing an interview/assessment. “Structure” is a misnomer here, as there are certainly issues I need to know about (family history, social history, “presenting concerns” and such), but how I go about getting that information isn’t necessarily structured. Other times, this may be a circumstance where someone first has issues they want to discuss, or information they think I need to have.
We may talk about “goals”- outcomes that we’re looking for… both yours, and mine. It’s also a good time to talk about what I do, how I do it, philosophy of treatment, or more details about my professional background if you have any questions about it. I also think it’s really important to talk about “prognosis”- what you can expect to happen in terms of change.
At that time we’ll also talk about “office policies”, confidentiality, ethical considerations and such. These issues are “industry/community standard”, but it’s still a good idea to go over them.
How Long is this Going to Take?
Here’s an oversimplification of my philosophy: it’s my job to put me out of a job.
My intent is to complete the work as thoroughly and quickly as possible. This is often more than simple “problem-solving”. Unfortunately, “problem-solving” often results in people returning to treatment later.
My fees are at the community standard rate. They occasionally change and are different for families/couples vs. individuals– you can call me for the details. If you have PPO insurance, I can provide a “superbill” that can help you get reimbursed by your insurance company.
It’s customary for professional services to be paid at the time that service is rendered. However, I can provide a bill if preferred or be paid at the end of the month.