The First Session
For patients who have never seen a psychologist before, the first question is often, “What will the first session be like?” Our first session together will be an evaluation, during which you and I will both decide what the focus of our work will be. I will be asking questions about the problem that brought you in as well as obtaining background information. The first session is also a time when you can ask any questions you may have about the therapy process.
It is helpful if you make a list of questions or concerns you may have. If the reason for your visit involves school performance, please bring copies of the most recent report card, recent evaluations or school testing, etc. At the end of this first session together, we will have a beginning plan about what our work will be about.
Based on whom my primary client is there are two intake packets available:
Child and Adolescent Intake Packet PDF file (click here)
Adult and Couple Intake Packet PDF file (click here)
Please download the appropriate intake packet and bring it with you to the first session. If you are able to mail it back quickly, I will review it before our first session (I would appreciate it if you would complete all information). You do not need to sign the treatment consent form until you have had a chance to discuss any questions you may have.
Our work together is private and confidential and protected by law. If I need information from others such as a doctor, previous therapist, or a school, I will obtain your written permission with a “Release of Information” form. Information will be disclosed only with your permission or in rare special instances such as:
If I am subpoenaed to testify in court, I may have to give information about you or your child without your permission. I will make an effort to contact you, if I am subpoenaed. Even if you oppose release of information, a judge may require me to testify. The situation most frequently occurs during a custody dispute in a divorce hearing.
If I learn that harm has been done to a child or elderly person, I will make a report to the authorities. Although Oregon law exempts psychologists from reporting child abuse including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect, my experience is that reporting is a necessary and helpful step in treatment. Spanking in itself is not child abuse, although there are more effective parenting techniques. But punishment that leaves a bruise or injury is abusive.
If I learn of a client’s specific intent to bring harm to himself, herself, or another person, or to commit an act of violence, it is my responsibility to protect you and others. Under these circumstances I reserve the right to inform other family members, intended victims, or authorities as appropriate.
When insurance is billed for mental health services, insurance companies sometimes request case notes, a written report of progress and/or a treatment plan. Failure to send a written report may mean that the insurance company will refuse payment. On rare occasions, insurance companies may conduct confidential chart reviews to insure quality of care. Please let me know if this is unacceptable to you.
If a non-custodial parent wants to learn about his or her child’s treatment, he or she has the right to discuss the child’s treatment with me.
I often see parents and children separately. In this case, I maintain limited confidentiality for both parents and children. Information obtained while talking to the child will not be fully shared with the parents, and vice versa. The reason for this is to encourage both children and parents to talk openly about themselves. I will share information that I believe will be therapeutically helpful. If I believe a child has been harmed or is at serious risk of being harmed, I will break confidentiality with the child or adolescent and discuss the information with the parents. I encourage you to talk with me any time confidentiality becomes a concern to you.
I invite you to discuss any questions or concerns about your treatment and I look forward to working together.