What to expect at your first appointment
The first appointment with a psychologist, often referred to as an initial assessment or intake session, typically serves as an introduction and an opportunity for your psychologist to gather relevant information about you and your concerns. While practices may vary among our psychologists, here are some general aspects you can expect during your first appointment:
Paperwork and administrative tasks: You will be asked to fill out various forms, such as consent forms, personal information sheets, and questionnaires about your medical history, current symptoms, and any previous treatment experiences.
Introduction and building rapport: Your psychologist will introduce themselves and create a comfortable environment for you to share your thoughts and feelings. They will explain the confidentiality policy and address any questions or concerns you might have.
Discussion of concerns and goals: Your psychologist will invite you to talk about the issues that brought you to therapy. They will ask specific questions to understand your symptoms, their impact on your life, and your goals for therapy. Be open and honest about your experiences, as it will help the psychologist form an accurate understanding of your situation.
Personal and family history: Your psychologist may ask about your personal background, family history, significant life events, relationships, and any relevant medical information. These details can provide insights into the factors contributing to your current difficulties.
Assessment and evaluation: Depending on your concerns, your psychologist may administer various psychological assessments, questionnaires, or interviews to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your situation. These assessments can help in diagnosis, treatment planning, and monitoring progress.
Discussion of treatment options: After gathering the necessary information, your psychologist will discuss potential treatment approaches tailored to your needs. They may explain different therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), schema therapy, or mindfulness-based approaches, and how they can address your specific concerns.
Establishing a treatment plan: Together with your psychologist, you will collaboratively develop a treatment plan that outlines your therapy goals, the frequency and duration of sessions, and the anticipated course of treatment. This plan may be flexible and can be modified as therapy progresses.
Questions and clarification: The psychologist will encourage you to ask questions and seek clarification on any concerns you may have. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the therapeutic process, expectations, and your role in your treatment.
Remember that each psychologist will have their own unique approach, so the specific structure and content of the first appointment may vary. It’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with your psychologist to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of your situation and to address any questions or concerns you may have.