What Does it Look Like to
Begin Therapy? 

 

Where Do I Start?

Make contact!  Whether you are more comfortable calling or emailing, just make contact.  I am happy to offer you a 15-minute phone call to review the process and see if we are, in fact, a good fit for each other. If we are not a good fit I am also happy to offer you a referral to other therapists that may suite your needs better.

 

The First Call

The first call is when you may feel the most nervous or anxious about what to say and what to ask. You have just taken the hardest first step, so take a deep breath: you are on the path to wellness. I will ask you a few questions about what you are looking for in therapy and how I can best support you.

 

Also, when you call, you will most likely get my voicemail as I'm often in appointments with other clients and unable to answer the phone at that moment.  Please leave a voicemail with a safe number to call back and I will return your call within 24 hours (unless it’s the weekend).  When I call you back, I will always ask if this is a good/safe time to talk, as I've found that sometimes clients answer the phone at work or home and then feel pressured to talk in that moment.  If I return your call and it isn't a good time, no worries- we can schedule a better time to talk.  It is also ok to email me from the contact form if that feels more comfortable for you as an initial form of contact.

 

Before The First Session

It’s expected (but not mandatory!) to feel nervous before the first session as you may have been carrying around the burden of your stress for a while, and are anxious to get counseling started.  This is very normal, so don't worry if you experience this.  Before the first session, I will have you fill out some intake paperwork to bring to the first session.  Or, if you prefer, you may arrive early and complete the forms before our first appointment.  I will email you the forms prior to your first session.  Please fill out the Informed Consent, Client Intake, Fee Agreement and if applicable the Couples/Family Policy.  Make sure to review the forms on Social Media and the Privacy Policy. 

 

The First Session

At the first session we will briefly review the paperwork you brought in and then we will spend time talking further about why you are seeking therapy.  This includes: what you are hoping to get out of counseling, how long you have been experiencing these symptoms or obstacles, and why now feels like the right time for creating change in your life.  You will notice in the first session that I will ask lots of questions! This is to help me to get to know you and what your needs are.  My therapy sessions last for 50 minutes, and the fee quoted to you will be for a 50-minute session, unless we have discussed a longer time prior to scheduling.  

 

End Of The First Session

Many clients tell me that they feel relieved at the end of the first session because they have been able to release a burden that's been bothering them for a while, and that they feel like they are no longer alone with what they've been experiencing.  I hope that by the end of our first session together you feel safe, seen, and heard. Moving forward, we will work as a team to help you achieve your best and most fulfilling life.  Imagine two explorers in a cave: I am the one holding the flashlight, walking next to you and suggesting what steps to take as you explore the inner realms of the cave.

 

At the end of the first session we will briefly talk about scheduling the next session and working together. I typically try to schedule my clients for the same time every week, but since some of my clients have different work and home schedules, there is some room for flexibility as needed.

 

If for any reason at this point you don't feel like we are the right match, don't worry and don’t hesitate to let me know.  I would much rather refer you to someone that is a better match than to begin therapy and have you feel like you are not benefiting from my services.  It is much more important for you to have the right  therapist as opposed to the first  therapist that you meet.

 

Between Sessions

It’s likely that I may assign you some homework to do throughout the week. This will usually be some form of self-reflection or taking on a new self-care practice. We can work together to choose something that won’t feel too overwhelming for you. The most important part is being mindful of the need to nurture and care for yourself. Keep in mind that the act of committing yourself to therapy and its process is caring for yourself also, so be sure to give yourself credit for already taking steps to a happier and healthier you!

 

Now that you are a bit more familiar with the process, you are ready to make the first call.  Email or call to schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation to discuss how therapy can benefit you.  

© 2019 Jessica Hernandez, MA, LMFT  #87376   

*The recommendations on this website do not constitute professional advice, substitute for professional treatment, or establish a therapeutic relationship.

As a Psychotherapist (Marriage & Family Therapist), Jessica provides Silicon Valley, CA residents, including Palo Alto, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Mountain View, Stanford, San Jose, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell, Almaden, South San Jose, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz with Individual Psychotherapy, Therapy, Ecotherapy, EFT, Online Therapy, and Counseling for: anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, introverts, divorce/relationship issues, self-esteem, co-dependency, veterans, stress management, mindfulness, spiritual exploration, abuse survivors, HSP's, Empaths, work/life balance, trauma, and more.