First time calling for therapy? Here's what to expect.
It’s a huge step to go from contemplating therapy to reaching out to a clinician. Reaching out about something challenging and personal that you are experiencing to a complete stranger is uncommon and can be anxiety provoking. The goal of this post is to help reduce the uncertainty and let you know what to expect when you reach out to me.
When you call, you will most likely receive my voicemail. This is normal. I place my phone on “do-not-disturb” as to have a dedicated time to speak with you and avoid interrupting sessions. This way when we talk, you have my full attention. Once you call and leave a message or send me an email, I’ll contact you directly at the phone or email that you provided. I typically call back within 24 hours if on a business day, or if on the weekend, the next business day. If I am able to reach you on the phone, great! If not, I’ll leave a number, a couple of suggested times that we can speak, and will ask you to call me back and let me know works for you. This applies to email as well. Before making appointments, I’d like to speak with you on the phone first.
Once we connect, I’ll ask you about what you are seeking and to tell me briefly about what you are going through. I do this to get a sense if what you are going through is something I am able to treat. If it is, I’ll ask you to give me your demographic information (full name, address, date of birth, diagnoses, previous/current treatment, and medication).
I will then ask if you plan to use your insurance. if you elect to pay out of pocket or use your out of network services, we will discuss the fee for service. If you are in agreement, then we schedule the appointment. If you plan to use your insurance benefits, I’ll ask the name of the insurance you have. If I participate in your insurance plan (i.e., “in-network”), I’ll collect information on it. If you would like to use your benefits, I’ll let you know that I will reach out to my insurance biller before scheduling. The insurance biller verifies the information provided, sees if any pre-authorization is required, if a deductible has to be met, and lets me know about client responsibility for payment (e.g., co-pay). Once I hear back from my insurance biller, I will call you and let you know your fee responsibility.
If you are ok with moving forward based on the information from the insurance company or with my out of pocket fee, I then propose a couple of dates and times that I have available for you to come in for your first session. Lastly, I check to make sure that you know where I am located, what to expect once you enter the building, and if you have any additional, preliminary questions.
I hope you have found this post helpful in reducing at least some of the initial uncertainty when you call me seeking therapy. For additional information regarding services and my practice, please explore my website at www.flpsychcenter.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (321) 345-0579.