So, you have made the decision to schedule a consultation with a therapist—congratulations on taking that first step! This may be the first time you have decided to embark on this journey and you may be curious to know what exactly a consultation entails and what should you expect during those fifteen minutes.
A consultation is a brief meeting with a therapist (typically over the phone) to learn about what types of therapy they offer, any areas they specialize in, how they approach specific diagnoses, and their overall therapeutic philosophies. During this fifteen-minute conversation, the therapist may ask questions regarding past therapy experiences, any previous diagnoses, and what brings you to therapy at this time. Overall, it is a great opportunity for both therapist and client to decide if they will be a good match. If so, it is recommended to schedule an appointment that works with your schedule, as well as securing a specific repeating time slot so that you will have a consistent day and time that you meet with your therapist. You can talk to your therapist about how often you would like to meet. Typically, you may meet with a therapist once a week or once every other week depending on the circumstances going on in your life and how much support may be needed. Over time, this frequency may decrease as you start to learn and implement new coping skills, make therapeutic progress, and feel ready to transition to less frequent sessions.
Is scheduling a consultation required? Not at all! Sometimes people can get a good feel on whether they would be a good match with a therapist simply by reading their therapy profile or information from a website. Also, some people have been in therapy in the past and feel more comfortable scheduling a session without the need of a consultation.
Do you have to disclose previous diagnoses? While it may be helpful to discuss any previous diagnoses when starting therapy with a new therapist, it is not mandatory and you may feel more comfortable “starting fresh” with a new therapist. (If you are currently on medication for a mental health concern, it is recommended to disclose this information and will be asked on our intake form).
What questions should I ask a therapist during a consultation? Some frequently asked questions include: 1) “Have you worked with clients who struggle with [insert issue]? If so, what does your typical treatment for this case look like?” 2) “Knowing a brief extent of what I am currently struggling with, how often do you suggest we meet?” 3) “Do you provide homework assignments that I can work on that will help me to stay focused on my therapy experience for the days that we do not meet?” 4) “I have been in therapy in the past and I already know the basics like journaling, meditating, going for walks and I have been doing all of these things—but I am still not seeing any difference in my mental health…can we explore something deeper that may help me overcome some of these negative patterns?”
And of course, if there a specific question you have for us—we want to hear it! How long after the consultation can you make an appointment? It depends on the therapist’s schedule (and of course finding a time slot that works with your schedule), but you will typically be scheduled a recurring appointment within a week. If you would like to take some time after the consultation to think about it, or schedule additional consultations with other therapists, just let the therapist know. We are also here to help you find a match with a therapist, even if the therapist is outside of our group practice. Our main focus in making sure you find a great match that you feel comfortable working with based on your needs.
How do I know if the therapist I am consulting with takes my specific insurance? During the consultation is a great time to discuss what type of insurance you plan on using. The therapist can make sure insurance will be covering your sessions before you get started. Once you decide on proceeding forward, you will be provided paperwork via our SimplePractice portal, which will include an area to upload insurance information.
When do I need to complete paperwork? All paperwork must be completed before you will receive an appointment confirmation. The therapist will typically reserve the slot for you, and once you have completed the paperwork you will receive confirmation that the appointment is booked. For telehealth sessions, you will receive the telehealth link via e-mail after paperwork is completed.
Can I contact the therapist I consulted with before our actual session? Yes! Once you log into your SimplePractice portal there will be an option to message your therapist directly. These messages are HIPAA-compliant and a secure place to communicate with your therapist throughout your therapeutic process.
How many therapists can I consult with? That number is up to you! If you wanted to consult with every therapist that had availability here at 253 Therapy and Consult, we would more than welcome that! We want you to find a great match for going forward in your treatment.
Also, we understand if after the 15-minute consultation you decide it is not a good match, we want you to feel comfortable letting us know. If you are not comfortable letting the therapist know directly, our intake coordinator Markelle would be the person to speak with to let know that you will not be going forward with the therapist. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in providing options for other consultations with different therapists.
As always, we are here for you! We welcome any additional questions you may have regarding consultations. If you feel ready to schedule a consultation today, reach out to us and we will help make that happen.