what is a first session like?
You've made the first step on your journey to healing! You're here, you're ready to begin counseling, and now you're just wondering what to expect. I understand that meeting a counselor for the first time can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, especially if you've never talked to anyone about your mental health before. I'm here to break this process down for you and make it as comfortable as possible!
Your first session is going to require a good bit of paperwork! All this paperwork benefits us both, though, so I promise it'll be worth it! You'll be required to sign paperwork about informed consent, HIPAA policies, practice policies, and counseling agreements. We'll go over all of this in more detail, and I'll talk to you about limits of confidentiality, how to request records, and what happens if you need to reschedule an appointment, among other important information. All of this is necessary so that you understand what kind of counseling agreement you're entering into and what your rights are as a client.
I'll also ask you to fill out some personal information and list an emergency contact. There will be a form for you to tell me about any symptoms you've been experiencing, why you're seeking counseling, and what you hope to achieve in our time together.
Your first session will take about an hour, but it helps to come in a little early so we can get the paperwork part out of the way. You can expect to be in the office for about an hour and a half.
Getting to know each other
After all the paperwork, we'll spend the rest of the session getting to know each other a bit more. I'll review your symptoms and reasons for seeking counseling with you, and I'll ask you about any other information that will be helpful in getting us started. We'll also discuss what it is you're hoping to get out of counseling, and we'll come up with some measurable goals for us to begin working on.
Finally, I'll let you know a little about me, how I do things, what my experience is, and I'll give you a chance to ask questions or provide feedback.