What can I expect in my first session with a therapist?
In your first session, your therapist will ask you questions about your current symptoms, your mental health, medical, family, education, and work histories. They will ask about your social support network and personal strengths and talents. You may also be asked to fill out a checklist, scale, or other forms to gather additional information regarding your symptoms. Your therapist will want to know if you have experienced any traumatic events that might be contributing to your current difficulties. After covering your history and symptoms, your therapist will help you to set some goals for your therapy. These goals are your treatment plan and will help your therapist determine what therapeutic approach and types of interventions would best suit you. Your therapist will also discuss a schedule for your sessions with you – do you need to be seen weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? Typically, therapy sessions are scheduled closer together in the beginning and then spread out more as you reach your goals and start to feel better. You and your therapist will collaborate to decide what you work on, what you talk about, and the pace of your treatment. Your therapist wants your feedback and will use it to make sessions even more effective and helpful to you.
Do I need a referral from my doctor to see a therapist?
No, physician referrals are not required for counseling at the QMG Behavioral Health Department. You can simply call and make an appointment. However, it is important to check with your insurance regarding your mental health benefits and coverage prior to scheduling an appointment. Please note that a physician referral is required for other services in Behavioral Health, including Telepsychiatry and Neuropsychology.
Why is there a waitlist for mental health care right now?
If you’ve tried to schedule an appointment with a therapist lately, you may have been disappointed to learn that instead of setting up an appointment, you were added to a waitlist. Or maybe you were added to a waitlist several weeks ago and still haven’t heard back about scheduling an appointment. There has been a dramatic increase in behavioral health referrals related to COVID, resulting in longer than normal wait times for counseling services. As communities reopen, the emotional toll of a worldwide pandemic is becoming more visible. Anxiety and stress are at an all-time high for many people as they navigate this post-COVID world. This is happening all over the country right now. Please know that we are working diligently to connect with each and every person that calls our office and we appreciate your patience during this process. If you are on our waitlist but are facing an urgent or dangerous mental health concern, please call our office for guidance or head to the local emergency department for immediate assistance.
Will I need to be present at my child’s first appointment with a therapist?
If your child is under the age of 12, your presence will be needed at all or most of the first appointment as your child’s therapist will want to gather background information from both you and your child to determine the proper course of treatment. If you child is between the ages of 12 and 17, your presence will be needed for at least part of the session to provide background information and your perspective regarding the presenting concern. You may be asked to leave the room at some point in this first session so your child can speak privately with the therapist if they wish. Your therapist will communicate with you regarding who should be present for follow-up appointments.
How many sessions will I need to feel better?
How many counseling sessions you need to feel better will depend on several factors, including the type and severity of your symptoms, your readiness for change, and the specific approach that you and your therapist use to work toward your goals. Some people feel better after just one or two sessions, while others require more. Some approaches are designed to last a certain number of weeks while others are less structured and appointments can be scheduled as needed. In your first session, you and your therapist will work together to design a treatment plan and schedule that works for you.