If you’re thinking about coming to therapy, consider contacting me at 505.459.9642 or email@example.com to set up a free, 10-minute phone consultation.
10 Minute Consultation
During this first conversation, we’ll talk about the basics in your life, as well as the reason you decided to look around for a therapist in the first place. During that time, you are under no obligation to return: you get to decide if you’d like to schedule an hour-long appointment in the same space, or whether you’d like a referral to someone else. You are allowed to decide that whenever you feel ready to–right away, or a week later, or a month, or a year… It’s up to you.
You are not required to make sense of everything in your life before coming to your session. You are not required to put your best foot forward, or put on your game face, or do your makeup or your hair or clean your house before coming to therapy. You might do these things, of course, to help yourself feel up to it.
You are not required to talk about anything you don’t feel like talking about–although I might ask. Therapy is one of the few spaces in your life where you are allowed to stretch into your full self, warts and all; where you can speak off the cuff, and hear yourself saying things you never knew were true; where you can be down and dirty, in the thick of things, and not have to tie it all up in a bow for anyone.
First face-to-face session: in-depth psychosocial assessment
In our first fifty minute session, I will ask all kinds of questions about all kinds of things. There will be some questions that feel mundane–“what’s your address?” Some of these questions will be about things you may not have talked about in years–“did you receive special services in elementary school?” A bunch will be about stuff you haven’t talked about with anyone but your best friend. And some questions, such as those about trauma and abuse, may be about stuff you haven’t ever talked about with anyone. Without Confidentiality, the possibility of healing happening would evaporate right there. Thankfully, this is therapy, where Confidentiality is protected by law, the ethics of the profession of clinicial counseling, and my own personal integrity.
Having gone through your 10 minute assessment and your first face-to-face session, we’ll be able to decide if we’re a good fit–if the whole thing feels good enough to you that you’re ready to get into your work, and if I’m certain I’m the right provider for you.
The “Fit:” what works and what doesn’t
How will you know we have a “fit?” If you feel better when the session is done; if you feel OK about how it went down, in your heart and your gut–then it’s probably OK.
How will I know if we have a fit? I too will be looking for that feeling of “OK” in my heart and gut–but also in my clinical mind. I’m not set up to help folks experiencing real live mental health crisis. If you are realizing that addiction is real in your life, or if you’re recently sober, then I’m not the right person. If you’re looking for an well-appointed, institutional setting–I’m not the right person. If you’re facing homelessness, recently homeless, or currently homeless, there are far more equipped agencies and providers for you than myself. If you’re currently suicidal, or have been through an attempt within the last month, I’m not the best fit for you. If you’re struggling with previously diagnosed personality disorders, psychoses, or bipolar I disorder, I’m not the best fit for you. I work best with folks who may have mental health problems (depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma history) but who remain generally functional–and who see creativity as central to life.
Now you’re there! You’ve found yourself some support, and we’re beginning to explore the issues that brought you to therapy in the first place. How long should you expect to be coming? How many times will you come in a month, a week? What, exactly, will change as a result of all this? The truth is, those answers are different for everyone. However, in general, therapy is a long-term process. I work in a low-intensity, outpatient setting, and I like to think in terms of three-month periods, generally of one session per week, with more as needed. As to goals, be assured that therapy works–but know that the pathway to growth is very often mysterious and unpredictable.