Beginning counseling, especially if you have never seen a psychologist before, can cause some uncertainty and apprehension. To make things less stressful, this page serves as a road map to your first session. It guides you through the process of setting up an appointment and includes all the documentation you’ll need when you arrive so we can focus on what’s most important – the reason you contacted me in the first place.
Making the Connection
That first phone call can be a challenge– especially when you don’t know what to expect.
Here’s an easy way for you to start counseling with me.
It Begins With A Phone Call
The therapeutic alliance between client and therapist is vital to finding a resolution to your problems. Because a good therapist/client “fit” is essential to successful counseling, I offer a free 10-15 minute phone consultation to gain a preliminary understanding of your situation.
That quick call allows us to mutually explore how my background and experience could help you. You can learn more about my particular areas of expertise here.
The First Appointment
When you arrive at my office, please have a seat in the waiting room. Help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or water. I will be out to greet you shortly.
During the first appointment, I want to hear about your most urgent concerns. I will also begin an evaluation and gather a thorough history to help me understand you more fully. This usually takes 1-2 sessions. During this time, you can assess how comfortable you are with me, and we can both decide if I am the best person to help you meet your treatment goals.
You may also meet my dog, Prince, who sometimes assists with therapy (more on animal-assisted therapy here).
If you decide to continue therapy with me, I typically recommend scheduling weekly sessions. Depending on your situation, we can meet more or less frequently. After the first session or two, we will develop treatment goals together. Setting goals allows us to work together on the issues of most concern to you and enables you to see progress by your own efforts.
If you think you are ready to take that first step,visit my contact page to connect with me.
Your First Appointment: Important Documents
The documents below make up the “New Patient Packet.” They are full of information that you need to read prior to your first appointment as well as two forms that you will need to fill out prior to your first session.
To save some time before the first session, you can read the need-to-know information, fill out the first session forms and bring them along with you to the appointment.
You can download the entire “new patient packet” here or browse them individually below.
Psychologist-Patient Services Agreement
Describes my office procedures and the agreement for therapy services. This document explains therapy, insurance, your confidentiality, contacting me, and other information relevant to our work together. If you have questions after reading it, I encourage you to bring them up when we meet.
Billing and Collection Policies
Explains in further detail my fees, using your insurance and paying for my services.
Social Media Policy
Lays out my policies and procedures as they relate to our potential interactions on the Internet. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about these policies.
I am required by law to provide you with a copy of the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices so you can understand your rights and protections related to the use and disclosure of your identifiable health care information.
Billing Information Form
Prior to our first session, please complete this form, and bring it to our first appointment. It provides basic demographic information for my records and details about your insurance, if you choose to use it.
Once you have read my Psychologist-Patient Services Agreement, my Billing & Collection Policies, my Social Media Policy, and the HIPAA Notice, please sign this Acknowledgment Form. It states that you have access to and have read all forms. Bring the signed form to our first session.
If you are unable to download the forms to bring, please contact me. I would be happy to mail or fax them to you. Alternatively, you can arrive 15 minutes early to complete the forms on the day of your appointment, but let me know in advance so I can leave them out for you.