Reaching out for a therapy consultation can feel intimidating — knowing what to expect can help.
Reaching out to someone new with something as vulnerable as your mental health can feel kinda scary. In this post, I give you a behind-the-scenes look into how I structure my own therapy consultations. My hope is that knowing what to expect will help this first step feel a little easier. Whether you schedule a consultation with me or a different therapist, this will give you a sense of the sort of things that may come up in that first call.
What is a therapy consultation?
Simply put — a therapy consultation is a chance for us to meet before starting therapy. The goal of a therapy consultation is to help you decide if you’re ready to schedule that first session. Aside from what we’ll actually talk about (more on that below), this is an opportunity for you to get a feel for my personality and see if we “click.” If you decide to start therapy, we’ll be spending a lot of time together — so this is really important!
Where will we meet for our therapy consultation?
My practice is entirely virtual. So, I like to offer consultations where therapy will actually happen — in my virtual therapy room. If you’ve never experienced online therapy, this is a good chance to see what it’s like to meet via secure video call. Click here to learn more about how to prep your space for privacy and comfort.
What will we talk about during our therapy consultation?
In my practice, I work with new mothers, fathers, and parents of all genders. From the get-go, I’ll share my pronouns (she/her) and invite you to share yours.
Since I’m licensed in California, I can only work with clients who are located in California. Telehealth laws are changing all of the time and someday this may be different. But for now, I’ll double check that we’re in the same state!
We’ll talk about what brings you to therapy and what you hope to work on. I’ll ask you some version of the following question: if therapy did exactly what you needed it to do, what would be different in your life?
Your answer to this question will give me a better understanding of your expectations, hopes, and goals for our potential work together. If I’m confident that I have the skill set to support you, we’ll have a conversation about my approach to therapy and what it might look like to work together on your specific concerns.
If I have a sense that my skill set may not be the best fit for your needs, I’ll be happy to provide you with contact information for any therapists in my network who may be a better fit.
Your Readiness for Weekly Therapy
I’ll see what you think about weekly therapy. If we decide to work together, we’ll agree on a day and time for weekly sessions — meeting once per week every week until you reach your goal(s) for therapy. I work this way for several reasons:
- AVAILABILITY: When I take you on as a new client, you can rest assured that I am available and prepared to prioritize your care (that therapy spot is protected in my calendar just for you).
- PREDICTABILITY: By having a predictable day and time for therapy every week, it becomes easier to prioritize and plan around scheduled sessions.
- BETTER RESULTS: Less frequent therapy (especially within the first 3 months) is shown to have less favorable outcomes.
- FASTER RESULTS: Weekly therapy helps you to reach your goals faster and more efficiently.
- COST-EFFECTIVENESS: With less “life” happening between sessions, less time is needed to review updates at the beginning of each session (saved time = overall lower cost of treatment).
There are so many therapists out there and we all work a little bit differently. If weekly therapy doesn’t work for your schedule right now, know there are plenty of providers who offer bi-weekly or even monthly sessions.
Your Therapy Budget
I’ll ask what you have in mind for your therapy budget. While therapy is an investment, it’s important to me that you feel financially comfortable with my session fee before committing to working together. (Check out my FAQ page for an up-to-date session fee.)
If your therapy budget aligns with my session fee, we’re good to go.
If your therapy budget is less than my session fee, we may talk about:
- how to check out your out-of-network mental health benefits through insurance (if you haven’t already).
- referrals to colleagues with a similar specialty who offer a lower fee.
- whether I have a low-fee spot available through Open Path Psychotherapy Collective (intended for un- or underinsured clients) and, if not, how to access their directory.
After reviewing all of the above logistics, I’ll give you a chance to ask any other questions you may have about starting therapy. Don’t be shy — I know it’s an important decision. I’ll be happy to offer any additional information about our potential work together so that you can feel confident in your next steps.
Your Next Steps
Depending on your goals, needs, and preferences for therapy, we may decide to:
- schedule our first session. I’ll send over intake paperwork that you can review and complete in my secure client portal.
- give you time to consider your decision. Maybe you need to sleep on it, talk to your partner, or check your out-of-network insurance benefits. Whatever the case, you’re welcome to take a beat to digest everything we talked about and make a thoughtful decision.
- review other resources. If you decide I’m not the therapist for you, I’ll offer information about other providers, organizations, and resources that might be a better fit.
One way or another, my intention during our therapy consultation is to help you clarify your next best steps (whether or not they’re with me!).