To schedule an appointment or an initial meeting
in San Francisco or Alameda: 415-533-9724

Your First Session

Once you have made an appointment, I will send you some paperwork you can complete either before or during our first meeting. This paperwork asks basic information about your:

  • Telephone, email and address information
  • Emergency contact’s telephone, email and address information
  • Medical history
  • Current prescriptions/medications
  • Prior experience in psychotherapy
  • Presenting concerns
  • History of drug and alcohol use
  • History of trauma, if any
  • Initial goals for therapy
  • Your telephone, email and address information

The packet will also include consent forms which we will discuss briefly during our first meeting.  Please try and arrive ten minutes prior to your appointment. During our first meeting, I will ask you some questions. These might include:

  • What concerns bring you to therapy at this time?
  • Have you been in therapy before? If so, what was most helpful or problematic about the experience?
  • What are you hoping to experience, accomplish or discover in therapy?
  • How long do you expect to come for therapy?

I am an interactive therapist, and balance listening with speaking.  I may ask for your permission to contact health care practitioners you have seen in the past or who are currently providing your medical care. It is your choice whether to consent if I ask.  During your first session, I will invite you to ask any questions that might support you to feel comfortable with our work together. The following questions are typical:

  • Are you licensed?
  • What kind of education and training have you acquired?
  • What is your general therapeutic orientation and approach?
  • Do you have any areas of specialty?
  • How frequently or long do you typically see clients?
  • Do you take insurance?
  • Are you available for phone sessions?
  • What is your position on medication?
  • How active are you in session?

Towards the second half of our session, I will ask you if you wish to return for another session, or would like to begin to work together on a more open-ended basis. As part of this discussion, we may talk about a preliminary plan for meetings.

The Importance of Match

Scientific research has identified that psychotherapy is effective. It has also been demonstrated that the effectiveness of the therapeutic process depends more on the quality of interpersonal rapport between a therapist and client than a therapist's techniques, education or approach. It is believed that the relationship between a therapist and client is the most significant predictor of therapeutic success.

Since it may take a couple of different sessions before you really start feeling comfortable with me, I encourage you to consider scheduling a second or third exploratory session with me if you like.

Confidentiality

There are laws that protect the communication between a client and therapist. In most cases, the information you share with me cannot and will not be disclosed to anyone without your written permission. Exceptions to confidentiality include:

  • Suspected child abuse, dependent abuse or elder abuse.
  • Threats of serious physical harm to others

Does Insurance Cover Therapy?

In some cases, insurance plans can help cover the cost of therapy. Check directly with your insurance company to inquire about your plan's coverage.

Here are some questions that might be helpful to ask:

  • What mental health benefits do I have under my plan?
  • How much will insurance cover per session?
  • How many sessions will be covered?
  • Do I have coverage to see an out-of-network provider? At what level?
  • Do I need prior approval from my primary care physician?
  • Will I need a diagnostic evaluation for insurance purposes?

Some Recommendations for Your First Appointment

  • If you're unsure where to start, ask for help or guidance.
  • Remember that you are always in control of what and how much you say.
  • Find a comfortable sitting position.
  • Be gentle with yourself.
  • Treat yourself to something special after your appointment.

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