Your First Visit

What Will It be Like?

Those new to therapy are often uncertain and even apprehensive about their first visit to a therapist.  Often, they do not know quite what to expect.  That’s understandable, as outside of popular media, which commonly offer distorted views of therapy, people have never been to therapy often have no real source of information on which to rely.  Add to that the fact that every therapist is different in the same way that every client is different, and there’s a lot of good reason for uncertainty!  Going to see someone you have not yet met in order to discuss your life can be intimidating.  Counseling is a positive step that takes some courage, and like a lot of new changes, taking the first step can be challenging. Ultimately, no one else’s therapy will look exactly like yours.

Just as when you go to a medical doctor's office for the first time, there is initial paperwork to fill out. For a telehealth practice like mine, the paperwork is encrypted paperwork completed online prior to your visit.  This paperwork not only provides needed information about you--your name, your age, etc.--but also gives me information about how you would like to be contacted.  For example, if a schedule change was necessary, would you want a message to be left at your home with another family member if you were unavailable?  Do you want messages left on your answering machine, or is it important not to leave messages there?  Would you like a message left for you at your workplace, or would it be vital NOT to leave a message at your workplace?  These concerns may sound simple but end up being of enormous importance because they involve your privacy.  It is important for us to get this matter right.  Speaking of privacy, the initial paperwork will also inform you of privacy issues and office policies.  This information, though comprehensive, can usually be covered in a fairly short period of time.

After your paperwork is completed, we will virtually “sit down together.”  There is some brief information I will have to share with you verbally, such as the limits of confidentiality, to make sure that it is understood.  You are encouraged to ask any questions you have about these issues.  Then we will talk about your concerns--what brought you to consider therapy, what issues you wish to address, what your goals and hopes are.  There is no "right" or "wrong" way to talk about your concerns.  There is no specific order in which you need to convey your ideas or your history.  If it is important to you, then it is worth hearing and worth discussing.

How will this visit compare to visits with other therapists you may have seen before, if you have seen any before?  Well, take 100 different therapists, and you probably will have a hundred different versions of a first visit, and take one therapist with 10 different clients, and you will again have another 10 different versions of a first visit..  My approach is to try to tailor each visit to each client, and to be as reasonably comprehensive as possible, but also to be fluid and flexible.  For those who prefer a very strongly academic approach to therapy, with high predictability of what each session might involve, or who have a strong need to feel their therapist is taking an intensely authoritative role with fairly constant emphasis on research, those individuals might be better served by therapy provided in a clinic associated with a hospital or university.  Similarly, while all spiritual views or lack of them are welcome, those with strong spiritual beliefs may discuss and explore them, if desired, in the context of their meaning to the client and the alignment of their beliefs with their well being, emotional health, decision making, and values.  On the other hand, the client strongly desirous of religious authority, scholarship, and scripturally based direction from their therapist may be best served by an office or clinic associated with their church.  

After Your First Visit

It usually takes a few visits to acquire enough information to develop a therapeutic plan, or course of action, to start to produce the changes required to meet the client's goals.  This is because while many people experience similar problems, their unique personalities, histories, and current situations often require different approaches to instigate positive changes.  During these few initial sessions, too, we will be getting better acquainted--the personality "fit" in therapy is very important and is a big factor in future progress.  Once enough background and current information has been acquired to establish a plan, then we will together determine a course of action for meeting your goals.  The value of your exploration of your needs and beliefs during therapy is hard to overestimate;  however, therapy is more than anything about what happens in the rest of your life when you're not attending a session.  Therefore, you will very likely be given some "assignments" of things to work on outside of therapy time to help you produce the changes you desire.  Once you begin to work on your assignments, therapy becomes like an unfolding process, in which you learn new things about your strengths and weaknesses, develop insights into the obstacles in your way, and develop new skills to address those obstacles.  The ongoing exploration of these issues is a critical factor in fine-tuning your plan so that you can be successful in your efforts.

Telepsychology in TN, CO and MN

Telepsychology in PsyPact States

My Availability


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


9:00 am - 1:00 pm