The following tips are intended to help you get the most out of your first appointment.
Preparing for your appointment:
- Aim to arrive early. It’s a good idea to arrive to your first appointment at least 10 minutes early. This will give you time to find the clinic, get a park, and complete any necessary paperwork before your session starts.
- What to bring:
- Before your first appointment, you will have been emailed a consent form. It is best to fill this out and bring it with you to your first appointment (or complete the online version prior to the appointment). If you have any questions about the consent form, it’s okay to leave it unsigned and speak with your psychologist about it.
- If you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and/or a GP Referral, make sure to bring these documents with you.
- Bring your Medicare card, and/or Private Health Insurance card (note that you can only claim using one method for each appointment).
- Some people like to take notes during their sessions. If you would like to bring a notebook and a pen, this can be a good idea. You can also ask your psychologist for some paper and a pen to use during your session.
What to expect during for your first appointment:
- There will be some admin. At the start of your first appointment, your psychologist will provide some information about consent and confidentiality. They may also ask you to complete some questionnaires.
- The first appointment will involve assessment. The first session is an opportunity for you to get a feel for your psychologist, and for your psychologist to get to know you and understand your reasons for coming to therapy. The first appointment often involves a lot of questions; some will be related to your reasons for coming to therapy, and some may seem unrelated. There is no expectation that you will answer all of the questions.
- You can let your psychologist know if there are things you don’t want to talk about, or if there are specific topics you would like to cover. This will help guide your psychologist during the session. It is also completely fine if you don’t know what you want to talk about.
- Ask questions. If you have questions for your psychologist, you are welcome to ask them during your session.
- At the end of your first session, your psychologist will make recommendations about therapy. This might be a recommendation for a particular kind of therapy, suggested frequency of appointments, options for other referrals, or your psychologist might let you know that further assessment is required.
- There will be homework. In most cases, your psychologist will send you away with some homework after each session. This is because research has shown that you are more likely to benefit from therapy if you are given a task to work on independently between your sessions.
After your appointment:
- Allow yourself some time. If possible, it’s best not to rush back to work, or to another appointment immediately after your session. Keep a little time free for some reflection. This might also be a good opportunity to do something nice for yourself.
- Attendance certificate. We are happy to provide attendance certificates upon request. Please let a member of staff know if you would like an attendance certificate.
Support in a crisis:
As a private psychology practice, PsychSessions is not able to provide crisis support outside of your sessions. If you are in a crisis, please connect with the following services:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Access Mental Health 1800 629 354
- Emergency Services 000
- Present to your local emergency department