Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What to expect when you're expecting to meet me as your new therapist

Taking the first step can to talk to a therapist can be intimidating. The process of seeing a therapist for the first time can seem odd and complicated. Generally, when we call a therapist we are in the middle of a difficult time in our own lives; dealing with something new and unknown can be a challenge when we have a lot on our plate already. In order to help make this process as safe and straightforward as possible, let me shed some light on what you can expect from me.
Making contact:
The first step is making the call. To get in touch with me you can call my voice mail at (925) 337.5029 or email me at and let me know that you are interested in therapy. I will give you a call back and we will talk for a few minutes, discuss your interest in therapy and how I might be able to help. At this point, if you feel ready, we will set up an appointment to meet.
There are usually a number of forms to complete before your first session. In an effort to make the best use of your time, try to come in 5 minutes before your session to fill out the paperwork. Normally I'll leave the forms for you in the waiting room. 
First session:
Generally sessions are 50 - 60 minutes in length, although some sessions can run 90 minutes or 120 minutes depending on the type of therapy. If a session were planned for a time over the usual 50-60 minutes, we would discuss and agree upon the change prior to the appointment.  
The purpose of the first session is for us to get to know each other. I would love to hear your story, to learn about what prompted you to seek therapy and to talk about your goals and visions for your future. You will have a chance to see my office, to get to know me and to hear more about how I do therapy.
Length of therapy:
After a few sessions, if you like, I will be able to give you an idea of the length of therapy to achieve your goal. The amount of time expected for therapy depends on a number of factors: your reason for seeking treatment, the therapeutic techniques and approach being used, social and environmental factors, as well as your personal involvement in the therapeutic process outside of the session. If you want to speed up your therapy process, I can give you homework assignments to do between sessions, suggest books to read and ask you to reach out for support from additional sources. As with any other process, you get out of therapy what you put in to it. And also as with any other natural process it does take time.
Payment for the session can be made through check  or cash. Generally, I collect the fee at the end of our session. The fee per individual session is between $40 and $80 based on ability to pay. If these rates are not affordable for you, talk to me about scholarship rates or referrals. 
Why Psychotherapy?
There are many reasons for seeking therapy. Some people choose to come to therapy because there is something in their life that they would like to change or achieve. Some have had a life-transition for which they would like support and guidance. And some come in response to some kind of loss (loved one, relationship, job, physical health, etc). Whatever the reason, I am here to to help without judgment.
Preparation for Psychotherapy?

It is important to me that you be fully informed regarding the nature of treatment, the fees involved, and the expectations and requirements of treatment. The psychotherapy relationship will only begin once you have signed the consent.
More information on the responsibilities and rights of the therapist and client, emergency situations and crises, confidentiality and limits of confidentiality, is available on the consent forms for therapy.

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