5 Things to Expect When Calling a Therapist for the First Time

So, you’ve finally decided to do it. You need help, things aren’t getting better. You’re going to do it. You’re going to call that therapist. You’ve read the website. You’ve written down the number. It’s time. You wait. No big deal, you’ll do it tomorrow. Then, you wait some more. A week goes by, then another one. Nothing in your life is getting better. You’re feeling worse. At times like these, it can help to know what to expect. What will happen in the first phone call? What information do you need to know? Below is a list of some questions to expect to hear when calling a therapist for the first time. 1. What brings you to Therapy? While this can be obvious, it isn’t always easy to describe. Information that your potential therapist is looking for is: • Your age • the emotional and physical symptoms you are noticing o Common things that bring someone to therapy can include feeling nervous or anxious, feeling down and depressed, having trouble sleeping, nightmares, feeling on edge, getting into fights with family or friends, and having trouble concentrating at work. • How long you’ve been feeling this way. o While it is common for people to feel down or anxious for a few days, if symptoms last for more than a couple weeks, this could be signs of a larger problem. 2. Do you have any questions about the therapist? Feeling comfortable with your therapist is an important piece of therapy. This can take time, though there is information that can be helpful for you to know at the beginning. • What approach does this therapist take to therapy? This can be a cognitive behavioral approach (how your thoughts and beliefs influence what you do), psychodynamic (how conscious and unconscious forces impact decisions), or many others. Many therapists take an eclectic approach that integrates many different theories. • How does this therapist view your role in therapy as a client? It is important for you to know if the therapist views you as a teammate to work together with, a student to teach, or other types of roles. 3. What forms of payment does the therapist accept for services? Does the therapist accept insurance or are they self-pay only? If your potential therapist accepts self-pay, when do they expect payment? • Usually payment is due at the time of service, though each therapist may have different policies regarding payment. It can also be helpful to know if they accept cash, check or credit card and which is preferable. • If your therapist accepts insurance, do they accept the insurance that you may have? If they do, ask the therapist if they want you to do any checking prior to your first appointment. It can be very helpful for both of you to call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card and verify your benefits. • If the therapist does not accept your insurance, you can ask if they will be willing to help you be providing an out-of-network form called a superbill that you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement. 4. What days are you available to schedule an appointment? Many therapists offer morning or evening hours to help avoid your work hours. What days does your therapist work? • Often, you can setup the first appointment. You will setup the next appointment at the end of the first one. • If you schedule ongoing appointments on a weekly basis that fall during the work day, speak with your boss. You won’t necessarily have to explain the purpose of the appointment; many people call it a medical appointment. 5. Anything else I should know? Your therapist will ask you if there is anything specific that you want them to know before scheduling. This information can take the guess work out of calling a therapist. If you are interested in setting up a free 30-minute consultation, call me, Cole Awdish LPC at (970)403-5488. If you are ready to setup an appointment, but would find it easier than calling, click below to setup an appointment.