My First Appointment

What should I bring to the first appointment?

Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete your paperwork. You many also visit our Forms page, if you would prefer to fill out some of the paperwork before arriving.

You need to bring:

  • a copy of your insurance card
  • any information about prior authorizations from your insurer
  • a parent or legal guardian who can consent to treatment for a child or teen

You might also bring:

  • names and contact information for previous treatment providers
  • reports from test results or legal proceedings that might be important
  • any completed forms printed from our Forms page

At your first appointment we will get general information about you, a fee agreement and specific permission to bill your insurance company if you choose. Your clinician will provide an overview of mental health treatment so that you can make an informed decision.  If a child or teen is being treated, consent must be obtained from the parent or legal guardian in order to begin treatment.  Teens who are 14 years old or older are also asked to consent to treatment.

If your clinician determines that there are other people (such as physicians, teachers, etc.) who might be able to provide useful information about your treatment, you will be asked for written permission to talk with them or obtain their records.  Teens will also be asked for their permission before anyone is contacted.

What can I expect at my first meeting?

The first meeting is different than follow-up appointments because you will

  • spend time reviewing paperwork and discussing treatment
  • be interviewed in a way that may seem different than therapy

By the end of the first meeting you should:

  • know whether to schedule another appointment
  • know if you need to contact other providers
  • have a good idea of your next steps toward feeling better
  • your main concerns will be identified
  • if you are using insurance, you will have a diagnosis (i.e. a formal way of categorizing your mental health needs).

Will insurance pay for treatment?

People who want to use insurance should check with their benefits coordinator (usually by a phone number on the back of your card) to verify coverage for you and your provider, and to check for prior authorization requirements. Treatment that is ‘medically necessary’ is usually covered, but some policies have specific restrictions that you need to know about.

Services that are not directly related to patient care are rarely covered by insurance.  Things like team meetings to coordinate care (mostly for children and teens), phone consultations, copying of medical records for legal cases, non-clinical reports (e.g. for a school or legal issue), or coordinating on a legal issue are usually out-of-pocket expenses.  We will work with your insurance company to help you get the coverage you deserve.

>> Read more about insurance coverage.