Karen Allen LMHC | What To Expect
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What To Expect

New to Counseling? Here is what to expect at your first visit.

 

I remember my first visit to see a mental health professional. It was many years ago and I felt anxious. I had no idea what to expect. Obviously I survived it because here I am today hoping to alleviate some of the anxiety you may be feeling about coming to see me.

 

One of the things I offer is a Meet and Greet Appointment. This is a 30-minute complementary appointment that allows you to meet me personally and for us to “get a feel” for whether we will make a good team. For therapy to be effective, you have to feel comfortable with me and I need to know I have the expertise needed to assist you. This is kind of like test driving the car before making the purchase. If you decide to hire me, you will be asked to complete the following forms prior to your first appointment as a client:

  • Client Information Sheet
  • Consent to Treat and Office Policies Form containing
    • Financial Consent (explains my payment policies)
    • Contact Consent
    • Attendance and Cancelation Policies
  • HIPAA Disclosure and Acknowledgement
  • Personal History Form

 

Plan on your first three appointments focusing on getting to know you and explaining your rights as a client. In the packet of information you will receive on your first paid visit, you will receive written information about:

 

 

  • Your rights as a client
  • Confidentiality and its exceptions
  • My responsibilities to you as a client
  • Your responsibilities as a client
  • Payment for services and how I set my fees
  • Participating in my online portal so you can schedule appointments on your own
  • Making suggestions and providing feedback for me as a therapist (it is how I grow and become a better therapist – constructive criticism is appreciated).

A detailed history is completed which provides the therapist with greater insight as to what is important to you, what has happened in your past that may be contributing to or influencing you currently. Even some medical conditions may contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety. The therapist may refer you to your doctor for a health checkup to rule out medical factors.

 

The entire intake process may take three weeks. It can be streamlined by completing initial forms and history prior to the visit. This makes effective use of your appointment time and allows the therapist to clarify and explore areas of your history that may be more relevant to your current complaint.

 

At each visit you will participate in scheduling your next visit. While we love our clients, we do not want to see you in counseling forever! Length of service depends on several factors such as attendance, presenting problem, and how hard you want to work. We encourage clients to pace themselves yet stretch themselves  a little beyond their comfort zone – sounds like a gym workout, doesn’t it?