Treatment starts with you calling us. After we receive your message, our administrative assistant will call you back, typically within 24 hours, for a brief phone call to get some basic information, describe our practice, and answer any questions you may have. If our practice features line up with the type of treatment you’re seeking, one of our clinicians will call you back to speak with you directly and schedule the initial appointment. There is often a wait of between one to four weeks for this first appointment, although this varies from clinician to clinician and the time of year.
The Initial Consultation
The first sessions are directed at understanding you and the problems that brought you to treatment, as comprehensively and deeply as possible. This initial assessment phase typically lasts between two to four sessions. It involves a combination of open-ended listening and focused inquiry. During the latter, we’ll ask you very detailed questions about your current life situation, symptoms, relationships, early development, family history, academic and occupational experiences, your medical history, and a careful review of any past treatment you’ve received. We’ll also pay close attention to our interactions and chemistry during the evaluation and address any questions or concerns that come up during this time. We aim for a process in which two people are mutually, respectfully and thoughtfully engaged in understanding the problems at hand. The end result of this early assessment is a preliminary diagnostic impression: a comprehensive, multidimensional evaluation of your particular situation. This will be shared with you, discussed, modified as necessary, until you and your doctor have a consensus perspective on the problem. Once achieved, your doctor will lay out possible treatment options which might involve particular medications, psychological therapies, and/or behavioral interventions. Based on your doctor’s input and your own preferences, you’ll select a treatment that feels right for you.
After the initial phone call, your doctor will email you a registration packet that contains information about our practice, location, billing and insurance details. In addition to providing basic information, this packet contains four forms that you will need to complete and return to us: a practice registration form, a credit card authorization form, a Medicare Opt-Out status notice and a receipt of privacy notice acknowledgement. You will need to complete, sign and return these forms to your doctor prior to your scheduled appointment. These can be completed and returned to us electronically or you can print them out, complete them, and then send back to us via scanning and email, fax, or through regular mail.
Ongoing Treatment: What type, how often, for how long?
Decisions about the type, frequency and duration of treatment follow from the initial assessment. We strive to customize the configuration of your care as much as possible. Treatments might be medication-based, more psychotherapeutic, involve aspects of chronotherapy or psychoeducation, or any combination of these elements. Session frequency is also variable depending on the severity of the problem and other factors; it might range from once to twice per week to monthly or quarterly.
Predictions about the length of treatment are the most challenging. Your doctor will attempt to give you a possible range of time that your treatment might last, however these early projections are typically reworked and revised based on how the therapy proceeds and how you respond. As with all treatment decisions, these will be made jointly, through mutual discussion with your doctor.