Your First Appointment
During your initial call
An Intake Specialist will assist you in determining the right provider for you based on your:
Preliminary clinical information to identify your special needs
Health plan benefits and eligibility
Timeliness of service needed
For your convenience and as a courtesy, our Intake Specialists will verify your plan benefits and eligibility and acquire an authorization for you prior to your initial visit. They will orient you on what to expect during your first appointment, such as: the need to arrive at least 30 minutes early so you can complete the required paperwork and identification documents you must present.
You may want to write down notes and make a list of issues, concerns, and questions. List your symptoms.
If you have medical records from other behavioral or medical clinicians, you may want to bring those with you.
School records, testing evaluations, and other material if the client is a child.
History of problems; when they began and whether they have occurred in the past.
List of medications, if any.
You may want to bring your significant other with you if they are involved in your treatment.
When in doubt, or if you feel overwhelmed in preparing, just come in as you are and let the therapist ask you the questions. You’ll be amazed at the amount of in depth information your therapist can get on the first visit.
The main emphasis of the first visit is on current symptoms and problems. Your past history can be discussed later.
When you arrive at FBH for your first appointment
Our friendly receptionist will welcome you, check you in and give you the essential forms you need to complete prior to the beginning of your first session; that is why you must arrive at least half an hour prior to your first appointment time. If the patient is a minor, a legal guardian must accompany the child or adolescent and sign the Consent for Treatment. You must present a valid US Government Issued pictured ID, insurance ID card, and proof of legal guardianship (if applicable). The receptionist will inform your therapist when you are ready and he/she will personally greet you and walk you in.
During your first meeting with your therapist
Your therapist will ask you specific questions regarding symptoms, onset, and etiologies; obtain a social history, summarize what you talked about, establish a treatment plan, and recommend a course of action. If more time is needed, a follow-up session will be scheduled to obtain more information and the counselor will either schedule future appointments to continue treatment, or refer you to another therapist. Therapy is essentially a relationship between the client and therapist, regardless of the therapist’s discipline and beliefs. As the client, you are responsible for deciding the ultimate course of action, and whether you feel comfortable with the treatment modality offered to you by your therapist. Ask your therapist about their treatment philosophy and the expectations they have of you for treatment.
There are many questions that come to the client’s mind relating to therapy. The following provides clarification on some of these questions and how to prepare for your first visit.
It is embarrassing to talk to a stranger!
Consider your counselor as a source of information and guidance. Treat them the same way you treat your personal physician. Remember, healthy people do not necessarily lead trouble-free lives. Healthy people do know when something is wrong and take the first step to find a solution. Seeing a therapist does not mean you are a failure or acting crazy. To the contrary – it is a sign of maturity, not weakness.
What if I don’t like the therapist?
In the event you are not happy with your therapist, you need to initiate change at the onset of treatment. At times, as treatment progresses, you may feel uncomfortable or sometimes angry with your therapist. This is quite normal as you reveal your thoughts and feelings. Discuss this with your therapist and let it be part of your counseling visit. It is therapeutic and helps with the healing process. Do not feel embarrassed or guilty. The issues that are making you upset could be quite therapeutic. If tension is highly severe and cannot be resolved, you may want to change the therapist.
For more information, or to set up your first appointment, please call FBH’s Intake Department at (775) 419-6350.