Our first session together
I set aside 90 minutes for our first session. This allows ample time to review consent forms and related intake paperwork as well as discuss the presenting problem that brings you to therapy. Here's what you can expect:
Both parents must consent to treatment (assuming there are two parents), and additional consent paperwork must be signed related to the mutual agreements pertaining to confidentiality and how they differ with children. I may also provide an authorization for release of information that allows me to communicate with your child's teachers and pediatrician.
2. A discussion about your family's mental health history.
No detail is too minor here. I want to know as much as you can possibly remember about your family's mental health history (yes, even grandparents). If your child is adopted, I will want to know as much as you can recall about their pre-adoption life and early adjustment period. This also applies if a parent is adopted.
3. A review of the screeners that you completed before our first session.
Roughly one week before our first session, I will email you a secure link for at least one broad child mental health screener. This will help us establish a baseline that we'll refer to throughout treatment. It will also guide us in exploring the main issues that bring your family to therapy.
4. An exploration of the parent-child relationship
You can expect me to ask general questions about how your family spends free time, as well as more specific questions, such as your impressions of how well you are relating to one another. I may ask some harder questions, such as how the child's mental health is impacting the family.
Effectiveness of psychotherapy hinges on a reliable routine. I carefully craft my schedule in a way that maximizes my professional skills. Because of this, there are limited options and the expectation is that once a scheduled weekly or biweekly appointment is set, it will be honored.
6. Therapy goals and objectives
Therapy goals and objective serve as our road map for improvement. I expect parents to take an active role in crafting and agreeing to the goals for therapy. At least one treatment objective will include the parent's active role in our work together.