Now that you’ve taken the first step to improving your mental health by making an individual therapy appointment, it’s time to get prepared for it. While a lot of the preparation will depend on your therapist, and your specific situation, there are a few things you can prepare ahead of time for your first therapy appointment.
Before you start therapy it’s a good idea to figure out what you want to get out of it. Making a list of things you’d like to go over in therapy is a good way to organize your thoughts and objectives. You don’t necessarily have to bring the list with you to your therapy appointment, but taking the time to define what you want to cover and get out of therapy is a good idea.
A lot of times the first therapy session is a “getting to know you” meeting between you and the therapist. Make a list of questions that you want to ask them. Many people simply select a therapist because they are covered under their insurance, but what’s more important is having a therapist who specializes in what you’re looking to achieve. Good questions for your first therapy appointment, or a consultation phone call, include: Level of education, licensure & credentials, background, what conditions they treat, what populations they prefer to work with, and what types of therapies they like to employ.
If you’re going to therapy and are already taking medication like antidepressants or mood stabilizers, make sure you write them all down and notify your therapist. This type of information lets your therapist know where you’re at, and how they can best adjust therapy sessions to align with any psychiatric treatment you’re already receiving. If you are currently seeing an outside psychiatrist, it is wise to sign releases of information (ROIs) for both your therapist and psychiatrist, so they can communicate with each other and better coordinate your care.
Therapy costs money, unfortunately. Make sure you have all your financial information in order, including method of payment. Also, if you’re using insurance to cover part of the cost, have that information with you when you go for the first therapy appointment. We recommend having your new therapist verify your insurance beforehand, so you are aware of your financial responsibility when you walk into that waiting room.
If another medical professional referred you to a therapist, make sure you bring that referral along with you. Not all therapists need referrals, but some do. They also like to know who are referring patients to them so they can communicate with other parties involved in your care. Referrals are also required for some insurance policies in order to receive coverage, so if you are utilizing insurance, make sure you ask if you need a referral in writing.
Depending on your reasons for going to therapy, it might be wise to bring along some medical information. Information like past diagnoses or neurological testing can provide insight for your therapist about your current condition. If you completed any other treatments, have been admitted to a mental health facility in the past, or feel any other information is relevant, bring it along to be on the safe side.
If you are currently looking for a new therapist, contact the practice of Raul J. Rodriguez, MD & Associates today. Our team includes multiple licensed, master-level psychotherapists trained in a number of different therapeutic modalities. We offer in-person therapy appointments mornings and evenings at our center in Delray Beach, as well as phone and video telemedicine appointments.