Many people feel reluctant to start psychotherapy because they don’t know what to expect. When a client calls my office to set up an initial consultation, we spend a few minutes talking about the client’s life circumstance so that we can determine whether my expertise will be a good fit for the client. If we agree together that an initial consultation would be helpful we will schedule an appointment.
The initial consultation is twenty five to fifty minutes long. During that time the client will receive forms that explain my policies on confidentiality, fees, and other aspects of my practice. Confidentiality is a pillar of building trust with a client. Thus, I hold my conversations with clients in the strictest confidence. The exceptions to the rule of confidentiality are dictated by law. During the initial consultation we discuss any questions the client might have about my policies and the law.
After discussing my policies, I often explain that the initial consultation is a time for us to get to know each other so that we can determine whether the
services I provide are a good fit for the client. It is also very important to determine whether the client feels comfortable talking with me. To that end, I ask the client to keep track of the client’s comfort level as the consultation proceeds so that we can discuss it at the end of the consultation.