What Should I Expect in a Therapy Introductory Appointment?
Taking the first step with anything new can be overwhelming and stressful for many, especially when there are unknown factors. Knowing how to prepare, how things work and what to expect, are all questions you may have. The same can be said about starting therapy.
Here at KMA therapy, we meet many nervous clients for the first time, who are unaware of what to expect during an intake session. In our 12 years of service, we find helping our clients get a better understanding of what to expect relieves some of their negative feelings. We are here to provide you with the same information so no matter where you start your therapy journey, you know what to expect.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly what an introductory, or intake session is and why it’s important. When you’re done reading you will feel much more knowledgeable about these sessions and determine whether they are right for you.
What is a therapy intake session and what is the purpose?
If you’ve browsed the internet for therapy services, you might’ve noticed many clinics start with an introductory or intake appointment. Whether it’s called an intake session, initial consultation, or an introductory appointment; this first session is a gateway to your therapy journey.
Intake sessions are designed to help you find the optimal service or therapist suited for you. These sessions are meant to provide you with enough guidance and knowledge that you are able to tackle the concerns you’re looking to work on.
What happens during an intake session?
There’s no set universal structure for intake sessions, which is why this process varies from clinic to clinic. Here in Ontario, there’s a large disparity in price, duration and the process of an intake session. Some clinics offer complementary 15-minute phone calls, and others offer paid 50-minute consultation sessions.
Regardless of these differences, we believe there are some key elements that make an intake session successful.
Most intake sessions start with informed consent. Some therapists and clinics like to obtain verbal consent from clients, others provide written consent, and some do both. It's essential to know what the therapy process will entail and what you're consenting to.
Unlike what many think, it’s not as simple as saying “I consent to therapy”. In fact, it’s a lot more extensive, as there are multiple components for consenting to therapy. It is important to outline the important factors affecting the therapy process. This includes a detailed breakdown of:
- Risk and Benefits of Therapy
- Confidentiality and The Limits to Confidentiality
- Our Clinic Policies
To gain the wisdom to tackle your mental health concerns, you need to talk about yourself!
A vital part of the intake session is to share information about your background, your mental health, and your goals for therapy. Generally, your intake therapist will ask you a series of questions to gather the necessary information needed. So the intake therapist can get a clear understanding of what you’re looking to work on and what recommendations will be best for you.
With that being said, it can be extremely difficult for some individuals to share their life experiences, especially when dealing with trauma or grief. In these instances, it’s critical to let your intake therapist know how you feel. As professionals, your intake therapist will be able to help you navigate these emotions.
Questions for the therapist
Small or big, this is the time to ask all of your questions!
As we’ve established, therapy is not an easy process, so you’re bound to have some questions along the way. For many clients, the intake session is the first point of person-to-person contact, so this is a great time to ask any questions you may have.
Intake therapists are generally proficient in anything therapy-related, so there is no one better to answer your questions than them!
Plan of action
You’ve done the hard work, so it’s time for results!
Throughout the intake session your therapist has gathered enough details to guide you in your therapy journey. Using this information, your therapist will set out a plan of action for you.
This plan of action will encompass some or all of these recommendations for you:
- Type of therapy(s) best suited for you
- The duration needed for therapy
- A therapist referral based on expertise, availability and/or personality match
Implementing the plan of action, your intake therapist will help you get started with a therapist or service that is best suited for you.
Now you’re ready for your intake session
Now that you know the basics of an intake session, we’re sure you’ll be walking into your first appointment with more confidence!
At KMA Therapy, we take a lot of pride in the services we provide, especially our intake sessions. As we’re able to provide individuals like you, the first stepping stone towards a personal therapy guide.
Whether you’re booking an intake session with KMA or another clinic, make the most out of your intake session, and walk out with a clear picture of what's to come in your therapy journey. Just remember the purpose of the intake session is to get you started on your therapy goals!