What should I expect at my first psychotherapy appointment?
The first psychotherapy session is primarily focused on information gathering. In an effort to determine whether our practice can meet an individual or couple’s needs, we ask questions along the lines of
“What has brought you here, and at this point in your life?”
“What are your hopes and concerns about psychotherapy itself?”
“What would you like to see change about yourself and/or your situation as a result of coming for psychotherapy?”
We believe that a good fit between client and therapist is one of the keys to successful treatment. By the end of their first session, clients can expect to have a reasonable idea of their therapist’s personal style and approach to psychotherapy, and whether she thinks they can accomplish their goals with a brief series of (10 or fewer) sessions or will need to make a long-term commitment. In addition, clients should have a clear sense of whether their therapist has understood them and the circumstances that brought them to the initial appointment. The potential for successful couples’ therapy is most promising when both partners leave the initial appointment with a sense of optimism and hope about the possible benefits of being in therapy together.
Psychologists are ethically and professionally bound to maintain strict confidentiality regarding the personal health information clients disclose to them. We do not release any information to another person or organization without our clients’ express permission. The rare exceptions to this policy are mandated by law or health care regulation, and are clearly spelled out in the informed consent document clients receive prior to commencing therapy.
What are your fees and payment policy?
Sessions are typically an hour in length, with 50 minutes given to the therapeutic work and 10 minutes reserved for administrative tasks. The one exception to this is our recommendation that couples schedule 90 minutes for their first session, as we like to insure that both partners have adequate time to describe their situation as well as their hopes and concerns about being in therapy together. The duration of therapy and frequency of subsequent sessions is discussed, and an initial plan is agreed upon during the first session.
Our fees are set according to the recommended rates established by the Ontario Psychological Association, and are based on our respective levels of training and experience. We accept cash, personal cheques, and electronic money transfers. Payment is due at the end of each session, and a receipt is provided that may be submitted for reimbursement if a client has extended health benefits. Prospective clients are encouraged to investigate the provisions of their particular extended health benefits package before they make an initial appointment, as this information is not available to us.
What happens if I am unable to keep a scheduled appointment?
We require that clients give us at least 24 hours notice if they find it necessary to cancel or change a scheduled appointment, as this courtesy gives us the option of offering our time to another client. When it is reasonable to have expected sufficient notice, the full session fee is charged for missed appointments and late cancellations.