Often times many folks wonder what the first session will look like. People wonder what to expect from that first session, how long it will be, who should attend that first session and what things to bring with them and any other information they need to be aware of.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
The first session is an Intake Session or Assessment Session. This gives the client an opportunity to try on the therapist. Expectations of both the client and therapist are discussed. Information regarding the presenting issue as well as the clients past, present and hope for the future is also discussed at length. Specific questions may be asked to determine if a diagnosis is appropriate. At the end of the first session, clients identify what they'd like their treatment goals to be. The therapist takes this information and creates a treatment plan.
HOW LONG WILL IT BE?
An intake/assessment session is typically 50-60 minutes. An additional 30 minutes is used to type the assessment and treatment plan however, that is done after the first session.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE FIRST SESSION?
Because the therapist will be gathering a bunch of information in that first session, it is really up to the client, clients or client's parents as to who attends that session. Typically, individual clients attend the session individually. Marital clients both attend the first session. Some parents like to go to the first session without the child due to the child's age or the content of what the parent(s) need to inform the therapist of without the child overhearing things. Many bring the child with them to the first visit.
WHAT THINGS SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO THE FIRST SESSION?
Most therapists have their Intake Forms online. It is a good idea to print off and fill those things out prior to the first session. This allows for the client to receive a full session without using session time to fill out paperwork. Clients sign Releases of Information Forms during the first session after it is explained in depth. It is wise to include a list of current medications, including doses, with the initial paperwork. Likewise, if there have been any previous assessments, evaluations or tests done regarding the client, it is beneficial to bring copies of those things as well. Copies of divorce decrees or court orders are also helpful if appropriate.
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