What To Expect
Scheduling an appointment
When you first call for an appointment, one of us will call you back, usually that day. We’ll want to know how you were referred to our practice and get a brief idea of the type of difficulty you’re experiencing. Assuming that there’s a fit between the type of problem(s) you’re having and our clinical capabilities and that we have time in our schedule, we’ll make an appointment to start the consultation process.
As part of this initial scheduling, we will send you a practice registration packet to fill out and return to us. This packet contains specific information about our fees, cancellation policy, communication methods, use of our offices and waiting room, and a credit card authorization form. A copy of this registration packet is available here. You will need to complete and return these forms to us in order to confirm your scheduled initial appointment.
What’s a consultation?
Basically a process of learning as much as possible about you. This usually involves some combination of following your lead and listening, along with very focused question-asking. We’ll want to know about the current difficulties you are experiencing, when they began, how they’ve evolved over time, any steps you may have taken to get help for them and the results of those efforts. What’s worked and what hasn’t worked for you in the past is important in helping us understand your situation and generate therapeutic recommendations. We’ll also want to know whether anyone in your family suffers from mood disorders or other psychiatric problems.
In addition to any symptomatic troubles you may be having, we’ll also want to learn about the other areas of your life: work, friendships, romantic relationships, hobbies, your family background, important experiences you’ve had - anything that contributes to who you are and how you’ve developed.
Last, we’ll pay careful attention to what takes place in our consultation sessions themselves. Any concerns that come up will be addressed. These first appointments will also give you a chance to get to know us and see how we work.
The consultation phase usually takes anywhere from two to four or more sessions, depending on the level of complexity of the problem and the past treatment history. When finished, we’ll have a diagnostic impression of your problem and a set of treatment recommendations that follow from this impression. This information will be openly shared and discussed with you and we’ll be interested in your reaction to our views. The end result of the consultation process is a mutually agreed-upon understanding of the problems at hand and a jointly endorsed series of therapeutic actions to be taken. Whether these actions involve the use of medication, a certain form of psychotherapy, combined treatment or family counseling, your agreement with the plan is essential.
What will the treatment process involve and how long will it take?
These are two of the most commonly asked questions that we are asked. The purpose of the initial consultation sessions is to enable us to answer these questions with knowledge specific to your individual situation. The range and length of treatment options varies tremendously depending on the particular type of presenting problem, the exact diagnosis, the presence and severity of ongoing life challenges, the availability of social supports, the person’s own preferences and many other factors.
Similarly, treatment frequency may range from monthly or quarterly for those who are doing well and/or those who are just involved in pharmacotherapy to once or more-than-once per week sessions for those who are struggling or those who are involved in more intensive forms of psychotherapy.
It’s only until we complete the diagnostic consultation that we can speak meaningfully about your situation and address questions about treatment length and prognosis in an informed fashion. What you can expect is that you should have a clear understanding of these issues at the end of the consultation process.