Your First Visit
A few things happen during the first appointment. To help you start to feel comfortable, we will chat for a few minutes about how you are feeling. One important document that needs to be read and signed is called The Informed Consent. This is a contract between the counselor and client that includes the agreement to participate in counseling, counseling and cancellation fees, confidentiality procedures, etc. You will also complete Authorizations to Release Information to the insurance company and an emergency contact person. When you sign these Authorizations, you give me permission to interact with your insurance company and to call someone if you need medical care. This establishes the professional side of the counseling partnership.
You will also complete another form called The Initial Intake Form. On this form, I ask you questions about your personal, family, medical, and mental health history. This information helps me to learn information about you so that I can effectively assist you in meeting your therapy goals.
Is Therapy Confidential?
As a general rule, all therapy sessions are confidential and anything you discuss with your therapist will remain between the two of you, unless you request otherwise. This is as per protection rules by law, which all therapists legally need to follow, and no information from the session can be disclosed without prior written consent from the client.
There are exceptions to this law. The therapist can disclose information from the session to legal authorities or appointed persons if any of the following are true:
- The therapist suspects abuse to a child, dependent adult, or an elder, or are made aware of domestic abuse. These situations all require the therapist to notify law authorities immediately.
- If the therapist suspects an individual has caused, or is threatening to cause severe bodily harm to another person, therapists are required to report it to the police.
- If an individual intends to harm himself or herself, such as plans for suicide. While the therapist will attempt to work through this in the therapy session, if it appears to be unresolved or the client does not cooperate, additional action may need to be taken to ensure the safety of the client.