The Initial Consultation
- What kind of problem with anxiety do you have?
- How severe is it?
- What is the best treatment?
- What can you expect from treatment?
These kinds of questions are addressed in an initial consultation visit that often sets the stage for treatment (although some people seek psychological consultations while not necessarily seeking follow-up treatment services). During this visit, I will spend time carefully evaluating your current difficulties, level of functioning, and history. The goal of this evaluation is to fully understand the problem--and the context in which it is occurring--so that decisions about appropriate treatment can be made. Techniques used in the evaluation include a thorough clinical interview and often the administration of paper and pencil symptom questionnaires and tests. I might ask you to complete some questionnaires on your own and bring them to the consultation.
Once the interview is complete, I will discuss my impressions with you (and if you wish, with any family members or significant others). This feedback session involves information about the nature of the problem, possible causal factors, and recommendations for treatment. Since education is an important goal of consultation, I encourage you to ask any questions you might have. Your input will play a role when discussing the pros and cons of different types of treatment.
There are generally 3 possible outcomes of the initial consultation:
1. You are a good candidate for treatment and decide to begin therapy,
2. You are a good candidate for treatment but decide not to begin treatment at this point, or
3. You are not a good match for treatment at this time and a referral/suggestion is made.