Many people are nervous when they consider the idea of seeking therapy or psychological testing services. Sometimes they are nervous because they don’t know what to expect. Sometimes they are nervous because they are finally gathering the courage to address their issues an struggles. Other times, they are nervous just because anxiety is their personal struggle. No matter what reason someone may be anxious or nervous about seeking mental health services, it still takes a great deal of courage to schedule the session and then attend the first session.
Scheduling your session
I always recommend that each person checks with their health insurance prior to scheduling the initial session. This allows you to be certain your insurance is in-network with the mental health agency you chose. You are welcome to choose any agency. However, your insurance company may not pay for the services if they are not in-network with that particular mental health facility.
Once you know what agencies are in-network with your insurance company you can check out their websites, social media accounts, and/or ask other people you know if they have had any experience any of the agencies you are in-network with. It’s always good to check out an agency so you know what to expect. Once you choose the agency that will best meet your need give them a call to find a time that works for you to have your initial session. Make sure you bring your insurance card with you to your first session! Most agencies require this.
Other information, besides your insurance card, that would be beneficial to bring with you to your first session includes:
- Photo ID
- Any paperwork you were mailed (fully completed)
- A list of your current medications
- A copy of any previous psychological testing you might have had done
- Guardianship paperwork another legal document if you are bringing a child that is not your biological child to their appointment
- A copy of your child’s IEP or 504 Plan, if your child has one
The Mental Health Agency
I have been practicing at Luzio & Associates Behavioral Services in Evansville, Indiana for over a decade. Our agency is similar to many other mental health agencies in that we offer therapy and psychological testing services and that we accept most insurance plans.
Each mental health facility has various services to offer. Our agency has social workers, therapists, or counselors (we use those terms interchangeably) to work with the clients during their therapy sessions. We also have psychologists that conduct psychological testing with clients to help determine the most appropriate diagnosis to explain their current struggles. Other agencies have psychiatrists that can prescribe medication for clients, but our agency does not have a psychiatrist on staff.
Every mental health agency looks different, but here are a few pictures of our lobby/waiting room area.
Your First Session
The first session you will participate in is referred to as the initial or intake session. This is where you will talk with a counselor, social worker, or psychologist about your concerns, as well as tell them about some of your background information so they can get a better picture of you and your life experiences.
Questions you may be asked during your first session include:
- Your reason for seeking assistance
- Information about your family and social relationships
- Your medical history
- Information about your work and education history
- Your mental health symptoms
- Any concerns you have about yourself
At most agencies, like ours, you will see one counselor for your entire time you are with that agency. This allows you to become comfortable with the person you are working with and allows the counselor to get to know you and learn how to best help you meet your therapy treatment goals.
And just like every mental health agency will look a little different, each counselor’s or psychologist’s office will look a little different too, even if they are in the same agency. Here are a few of the various offices at our agency.
All of the offices are different and reflect the personality and likes of each counselor or psychologist.
Setting Treatment Goals
At most agencies will set your treatment goals with your mental health provider during your initial intake session. Your treatment goals will include whether you would like to participate in individual, family, or group therapy or whether you would like to choose more than one of these options.
Additionally, your therapy goals will be specific for your needs. For example, if you are experiencing anxiety, then your treatment goals will be set to reflect your particular needs. Your treatment goals will focus on finding ways to help you decrease your experience of your anxiety and help you increase your coping skills for dealing with your anxiety when it occurs. All goals are established to meet each individual’s particular needs.
By the end of your initial intake session with your counselor or psychologist, you will have your treatment goals established and plan for whether you will be participating in individual, family, or group sessions or whether you will be participating in psychological testing. Then, at the end of your initial intake session, you will schedule additional sessions to return to see your mental health provider. Therapy sessions are often scheduled weekly or every-other-week at first and then lessen as improvements are made. However, scheduling always works with each client’s particular needs.
Now is the time to take care of yourself!
(In case you are looking for a sign it’s the right time….here you go!)
If you are in need of services and located in the Southwestern Indiana area you can contact our office Luzio & Associates Behavioral Services at 812-479-1916 to schedule an appointment.