Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Psychotherapy Consultation


So, you've made your first psychotherapy appointment.  Here's how to prepare yourself to make sure you get the most from your initial consultation and lay the groundwork for future sessions.

Know What to Expect

Your consultation will last for around 45 minutes. It's important that you maximise that time, and the best way to do this is to prepare a list of all the points you want to go through in your first session. If you have a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish, your psychologist will be able to proceed effectively and efficiently to help you.

You may feel so anxious about attending your first appointment that you forget much of what was discussed the minute you leave the psychologist's office. Take a notebook and pen so that you can jot down key points of the session for later reference. This is a great way to maximise your consultation because it allows you to refer to what was discussed with no danger of omitting or misremembering anything.

Bring Referral & Medication Documents

If you've been referred to see a psychologist by your doctor or another professional, notes about why you've been referred will be helpful.  Provide your psychologist with a letter giving your permission for him/her to contact your referrer for more information should it be required. 

Any records you have from previous psychotherapy or psychological testing would also be helpful so take these with you too. All this information will help your counsellor to form a picture of what you are there for and how they can help you.

It's also important that your psychologist has details of any medication you are currently taking so make a note of your current prescriptions together with what dosage you are on. Details of previous medication would also be helpful if you can remember the details.

Future Appointments & Payment

It's usual for people to have a series of sessions of psychotherapy. Take your diary with you so that you can make your next appointment before you leave the clinic.

Don't forget to take some form of payment with you. If you are claiming on a health insurance policy to cover the cost of your psychotherapy, take details including your insurer and policy number. Sometimes a copy of your insurance policy and a form of photo ID is required, so take this too.  If you're paying for the session yourself, take your credit card or cash.

Preparation is all-important when it comes to making the most of your first psychotherapy session, and it's hoped that this guide is helpful.  It's also a good idea to give a clinic like Associated Psychology Services a quick call before your appointment to ask if there is anything specific they want you to bring with you.


27 March 2015

It's a lot of work

It is a lot of work being a psychologist. It takes a lot of emotional energy to listening to people's problems all day long, but luckily I know that I am making a huge difference to peoples lives. It helps me to remember how much difference I make to my patients when I feel burnt out. There is a lot of work in managing the different aspects of my practise but I know by optimising my business processes I will have more time and energy to spend on my patients. This blog has my tips on running an efficient psychological practise.