I was talking to another health care professional the other day and they asked, so how does someone get an appointment with a psychotherapist? It accrued to me that if someone in the medical field does not know how to get help then others might not either. I thought I would take some time answer some questions that people have about it.
Psychotherapy is a self-referral process which means all you have to do is call to get an appointment. When you call, typically the person answering the phone will have a few brief questions for you and will let you know general information about the therapist and the fee. At our clinic that is done by our wonderful office manager, John Morris. The reason that there are a few questions asked is we all want to make sure you have the best experience possible, so we want you to be placed with the best therapist for you.
The first session can seem a little daunting when it is the first time you’ve been to therapy. Let’s tackle the fear of the unknown. When you arrive for your first appointment, there will typically be paperwork to fill out although sometimes the paperwork is filled out online before your appointment. This paperwork includes a consent for services which is basically explaining the risks and benefits to therapy, as well as the confidentiality and privacy policies. Your therapist will review this information with you after you have read it so that you can ask any questions you might have before starting therapy.
The initial appointment is when the therapist does an assessment. This means the therapist will ask you questions about your life to understand who you are and where you want to go. Then they use that information to develop a treatment plan for you. This plan is basically a path to help you achieve your goals and improve your mental health. The plan is flexible because we all realize that in one session no one can fully understand a person. As subsequent sessions happen, and more information is obtained the therapist will adjust the plan as needed to customize it specifically to you.
The other question that comes up is how to find a therapist. This is challenging because you are going to be sharing intimate details of your life, so you want to make sure it is someone you are comfortable with. The best way to find a therapist is to ask your friends and family if they know someone. This way you can find out information about them and what your friend or family member thinks about them. If that is not an option, then there are referral lists like Psychology Today where you can view profiles. When you find a therapist, you think might be a good fit, make the call and ask any questions you have, including how much they charge as it is an important factor into who you choose.
I hope this short article has helped take out the unknown in the process. We at HELPPS believe in helping you find the best path for yourself so if you do have any questions (whether or not you choose us as your therapists) we are here to answer them. Feel free to give us a call. 519-601-HELP (4357).