What to Expect at Your First Session
When You Call ...
... our office for the first time, we will ask you for some information. In addition, to getting basic information (such as your address and phone number) our secretary will ask you for a quick summary of the problem. She will not only explain our services, but also determine the best therapist for you and your family. We ARE accepting NEW patients at this time.
Your first appointment ...
... will be 50 minutes long and involves you (if you are the patient) or you and your child. For child/adolescent clients, we ask that both parents attend the initial session since that gives us the most information possible. We realize that due to work schedules, this is not always feasible, so we ask that at least one parent attend with their child/adolescent.
Your therapist will be asking both you and your child (depending on who is the client) questions to help with both a diagnosis and a course of treatment. Sometimes this initial assessment can take more than one session.
Important Note About Appointments
Dr. Levy and Dr. Parr will work with you in therapy to resolve/help your current situation. The continuity in therapy is one of the most important aspects of the process. Dr. Levy and Dr. Parr have many sessions available throughout the work week to accommodate our clients. Our office policy is that sessions are on a first come first serve basis and clients are allowed to book one appointment at a time. Dr. Parr and Dr. Levy book clients either weekly or biweekly depending upon what you are doing in therapy.
Due to the fact that we see so many school age children we do not guarantee that you will get an afterschool/evening appointment each time you come to our office. Booking once a month or until we have an afterschool appointment available will stall your therapy progress or may not help you move forward at all. Your child may have to miss some school in order to accommodate therapy and our office will give you a school note to return to school.
Preparing your child or adolescent
In general, we find that being upfront with your child about the reason for the first visit is best. For example, instead of saying, ”there is too much arguing in the house, we are going to see a doctor to learn how we can be a peaceful and happy family.” It would be clearer and more concise to say, “your father and I are concerned that your grades and behavior in school are not up to par or what we would expect. We will be seeing a doctor about this concern and he will be helping us on what to do.”
There are some instances when parents prefer to come in for the first session without their child. This is also acceptable. We leave this decision up to you. However, it is not possible to make a diagnosis without seeing and assessing your child/adolescent.
We do not accept insurance, including Medicare. If you would like to use your out-of-network insurance benefits, you will be provided with a receipt of services that you may submit to your insurance company for partial reimbursement. It is advised that you call your insurance company to verify out-of-network coverage for outpatient mental health services.
Will going to therapy hurt my child's self-esteem?
Not at all, just the opposite. What really hurts your child is not being able to resolve conflict and problems. It’s healthier and better for your child’s self-esteem to be clear about why they are going to therapy. Blaming or name calling will hurt your child’s self-esteem. Making general or vague statements like “we want to get along better as a family,” leaves your child wondering why he/she has to go and his/her siblings are not.
Directness will help highlight the issue so he/she can work on it effectively. Often children will complain and balk saying they don’t want to go or they are not going to talk. Do not struggle with them. Let them know they don’t have to talk and instead, just tell them when the appointment is. Do not try and convince them that therapy will help them. That is our job, let US do it!
How many sessions will we need?
This is a common question but difficult to determine due to the different problems and situations we encounter. We all are trained in short term therapy. With anxieties, we are usually able help your child/adolescent in 2 to 4 sessions. With other behavior issues, our average is around 6 to 7 sessions (after the initial interview). Adolescents generally take a bit longer.