Deciding to seek psychological support for the first time can be a daunting decision, and, equally, attending your first psychology appointment can seem intimidating. I’ve put together this outline to help you understand what to expect and to make the process somewhat less confronting.
Making a booking
To simplify booking an appointment, you can choose to book online, via email, or by calling one of our receptionists on 0487 480120. The receptionist can answer some queries or you can request a call back from me.
Whichever location you choose to visit, you will find easy parking. And there is disabled access at all of the facilities where I practice.
Make Yourself Comfortable
It’s important to us that you feel as comfortable as possible so you can make the most of your time “in session”. If you are not feeling comfortable please let me know at once. Resolution could be as simple as sitting in a different chair or changing the air conditioning. After introductions you will be asked to complete a a registration and consent form. This is to establish your basic details; your name, address, date of birth, and Medicare number, and to obtain consent to share information if it is appropriate to do so. At this time I will explain how confidentiality works, and also how your privacy is managed. During this first session your rights as a client
are outlined and the likely structure of sessions and therapy will be explained. Invariably, concerns and questions about the sessions will arise. These should be addressed at the introductory session, although they can arise and should then be addressed at any subsequent session.
What do you need?
Next I will then ask questions to enable me to understand what circumstances have led you to seek support, and what you hope to achieve from therapy. During this initial session I will seek to get an understanding of your circumstances, your needs, your goals and I will seek to understand what interventions will best support you.
I’ll be exploring with you your basic circumstances to get to know you and how you’re feeling and what you’d like to change in your life, and any history that may relate to what’s happening for you. Whilst you may want solutions quickly, this exploratory phase is important to develop a good understanding of your situation, and how best to support you. As we work through these questions, you may find it’s a useful way to make sense of your situation. I will ask you to give feedback at the end of each session so we can make adjustments to our plan to ensure we’re meeting your needs.
After your session
It can be a hard and emotional experience to discuss difficult issues that may have unfolded and developed over many years. I suggest that you practice some self-care following your appointment. Samford is a beautiful location: there are a number of pleasant walks and coffee shops abound. Perhaps you could take a walk or go for a coffee. Alternatively you could take the afternoon off, talk to a good friend or do something meaningful to you.
Therapy lasts for only 50 minutes out of 168 hours in a week. To keep the process active, I may ask you to follow up with a ‘between session’ activity. This could include reflecting, noticing, reading or watching a video to assist in supporting you. It’s helpful to do this to spread the benefits of therapy further through the week and to help experience quicker gains. If you think of making changes in your life as a little like learning a new musical instrument or a new sport, you can understand the importance of practice.
Subsequent sessions are quite different to the initial session. Depending on your goals and our plan we will focus on different areas to support your needs. Mostly we are seated, though we could spend time on a white board, we could do a mindful exercise outdoors, or with teens we could be on the floor with a game, or with parents of babies, we could be doing a “walk and talk” session.
Generally you will do more of the work and the talking. I will continue to ask questions and check in with you each step of the way. We will progress at a speed that suits you, though I will hold you accountable to work towards your goals.
I work hard to be responsive, relatable, collaborative and knowledgeable in our work together and I will ask you to engage so we can take steps towards the change you want to see in your life.
Did we click?
It’s important you feel comfortable with your psychologist and feel that they “get you”. The relationship is where much of the work is done. You need to feel heard and understood. If you don’t feel that we’re the right fit to work together, I’m very happy to refer you to a colleague that may be more suitable. It’s about helping you be empowered to live a meaningful life.