Your First Visit
Some specific skills therapy can provide are:
- Emotional management, including, but not limited to anger, jealousy, grief, and depression.
- Coping mechanisms to allow you to work through situations which typically cause you anxiety, fear, or avoidance.
- Stress-management techniques to apply to deal with stress within your everyday life, such as with your job and family.
- Skills and techniques to help you better navigate relationships, or to work through relationship troubles.
- Problem solving skills for you to enact when you encounter issues which may typically have caused you to shy away or back down, such as social situations or public speaking.
- Improving self-love, self-confidence, and body image.
- Improving communication, listening, and the ability to speak up for yourself.
- Understanding your own skills, strengths, and positive attributes and learning to quiet your inner negative critique.
- Finding a resolution to the issues that originally led you to therapy, such as having panic attacks, or being unable to sleep.
While the decision to begin therapy is an individual choice, in many regards it may be helpful for everyone. There are a wide variety of reasons to begin therapy ranging from a diagnosed mental illnesses to help managing daily stress or a transitional period of your life. It is your treatment plan that will vary based on your individual circumstances.
What to expect on your first visit and first couple sessions?
If you are interested in beginning therapy with me, the process will look like the following:
- We will have a 15 min free phone consultation to hear some of your inquiries about therapy and the reasons you are seeking services, as well as for us to work together to determine if I am the right therapist for your needs.
2. After the 15 minute consultation, we will schedule a separate session in which we will work together to discuss more of your needs. Before this session (known as assessment), you will need to review and sign appropriate and mandatory paperwork to get started. To prepare for assessment, you will either sign up or receive a link from me to your e-mail to sign up for the Simple Practice, the confidential electronic health record (EHR) system in which you will electronically review and sign necessary paperwork, as well as hold our video sessions in. The link to my direct Simple Practice website is as follows: https://briana-gonzalez.clientsecure.me/
3. During the assessment session, after reviewing appropriate paperwork to get started, I will get to know you on a personal level to gain a comprehensive understanding of needs you may have, which will help you and I identify goals you may have. While my areas of expertise may be consistent with your reasons for coming to therapy, we will need to address specific areas that are unique to you, and your current circumstances. From there, we will be able to better determine what type of therapy is right for you, what it will entail, and what it will look like for you in terms of fitting it into your day-to-day life.
4. From then on, we will meet weekly or bi-weekly for 50 min for therapy sessions as we work towards your desired goals. There is no guaranteed timeline for how long it takes to get to your personal goals in therapy, and each session may look different, but you will be empowered to make the choice to decide if you believe you have met your goals, or whenever you feel ready to end therapy. I may provide you with series of actions to do outside of our therapy sessions, such as practice a certain technique, or read a specific book, as it is important you take on an active role in your healing.
Whether this is your first or fiftieth time in therapy, one thing that remains true is that starting with a new therapist can be daunting- after all, you are trusting your therapist with some of the deepest things you may have withheld from others. But I want to reiterate that with me and my values, the following is to be expected:
- You can expect to be treated with compassion, empathy, respect, and understanding.
- You can expect to be presented with someone who is available to listen to you and listen to your interpretation of what you are currently experiencing.
- You can expect to receive knowledgeable and scientifically backed techniques and information to assist you in overcoming your mental health related struggles.
- You can expect to arrive in a safe, supportive, and confidential space.
- You can expect to receive real strategies and techniques you can use to enact positive changes on your life
Is therapy confidential?
As a general rule, all therapy sessions are confidential and anything you discuss with your therapist will remain between the two of you, unless you request otherwise. This is as per protection rules by law, which all therapists legally need to follow, and no information from the session can be disclosed without prior written consent from the client.
There are exceptions to this law however, and the therapist can disclose information from the session to legal authorities or appointed persons if any of the following are true:
- The therapist suspects abuse to a child, dependent adult, or an elder, or are made aware of domestic abuse in which children or elders may be exposed. These situations all require the therapist to notify appropriate situation-specific authorities immediately.
- If the therapist suspects an individual has caused, or is threatening to cause severe bodily harm to another person, therapists are required to report it to the police.
- If an individual intends to harm himself or herself, expressing to the therapist for example, plans for suicide. While the therapist will attempt to work through this in the therapy session, if it appears to be unresolved or the client does not cooperate, additional action may need to be taken to ensure the safety of the client.
More information about policies on your privacy, including your rights and HIPAA, can be found here on my Notice of Privacy Practices form: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p_mO2oYuHrxRQh1hCOfDnP_o2V8zK7P4AToe1qdZlPA/edit