Now that you have decided to contact a mental health professional, here are some terms a professional may use during your initial phone contact.
Most professionals offer an initial intake session with individuals to gain insight into the individual’s problems. You should be willing to answer various questions about your current issues. These questions may include but not limited to, the onset of these issues, how long those have lasted, your family structure, and your challenges in seeking treatment. This first session helps the individual determine whether they can have a therapeutic relationship with the clinician and if they can benefit from the therapists’ experience and knowledge in helping them guide further in their problem. This session also gives the professional a chance to understand the individual’s problem better and decide whether they are the right fit, in terms of their own professional training. This session typically lasts for 60-90 minutes.
Typically, therapy sessions are 45-50 minutes in duration. The frequency of the sessions are usually determined based on the needs of the individual. At the outset of therapy, the individual and therapist collaboratively set up goals to work on during treatment. It is beneficial for the individual to reflect on their issues that may have occurred in between the therapy appointments. This will help the individual make the most of their time with their clinician.
For therapy with children, the professional usually spends the first part of the therapy session with the parent to gain insight about the child’s behavior during the week. The second part of the session primarily involves the clinician working with the child. The session ends by updating the parent about what was done with the child and planning for the next session.
Infants and Toddlers : These testing sessions typically last 1.5-2 hours in duration. This includes testing the infants/toddlers with the parent present in the room, using developmentally appropriate and attractive toys in the context of a standardized assessment battery.
Children: These testing sessions last up to 4-5 hours depending on the referral question. Further additional testing or school observations may be scheduled if deemed necessary. It is common to split these evaluations over 2-3 sessions if necessary.
Adults: These sessions last up to 3-4 hours depending on the referral question. Sometimes, it may be recommended to split these sessions in multiple sessions.
In addition to collecting data about the individual’s problems from family members, the clinician also collects data from other personnel who could provide additional information about the individual. In cases of children, teachers and other professionals are asked to complete rating scales to provide information about the child in various settings.
Additionally, psychological testing involves a feedback session with the individuals or in case of children, with parents at the conclusion of testing, to explain the results and discuss recommendations. A report outlining results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations is provided during the feedback session.