When you reserve your spot, we get a pop up on our Electronic Health Record’s calendar letting us know what time/date works for you. We then call and/or email you to check in about your needs and wants in a counselor. If it seems like we can be of help to you, we will ask you if you want to confirm an appointment with us.
We will ask you these and other similar questions:
-What are you hoping to talk about with us?
-How did you find out about us?
-Are you hoping to pay using your insurance benefits or not so much?
-We have some office policies for everyone’s safety and comfort that we’d like to tell you about to make sure that you know about them beforehand and agree to follow before schlepping (dragging oneself along in Yiddish) over to our offices.
-Our policies include such things as:
please no animal pets in the office,
limited, if any, scents or perfumes
please no guns or weapons of any kind,
please no food in the office, & how we will charge your credit card a
full session fee if you do not show for your appointment
or cancel with fewer than 24 hours notice.
We care about your well-being even through we haven’t yet met in person.
-We will ask about your current thoughts of harming or killing yourself. We want you to be honest. If we feel that you need more care than we can provide, we will provide some names and webpages, email addresses, or phone numbers of people or organization who might better meet your current needs.
-If we think that your needs are better met by someone else, we will tell you. We want you to get the best care possible and if we don’t think it’s with us, we will tell you what kind of provider would be a better fit and/or give you names of providers who might be able to meet your need.
-We do our best to provide referrals but we are not responsible for their actions or inaction. Only they are.
-We’ll ask you if you have any questions of us. Please ask us what you want to know. If you ask a question and we don’t feel comfy answering, we’ll let ya know and then, you can decide if that’s a-ok with you to not know.
Some common questions that I encourage all potential clients to ask of their providers are:
-What is your experience in working with people like me (or trans people; youth; men; non binary people; parents; kinky people; poly people; lesbians; intersex people; parents; college students, etc.)?
-How do you feel about people like me/what you don’t want to be judged negatively on? (for example: polyamory; edge play; video game playing; bisexuality; Judaism; having children; undocumented status; not wanting or wanting hormone blockers)
-How many letters, if any, have you written for your clients? What kinds of letters do you write?
-Trans specific letter writing questions: What are your policies around writing letters on behalf of your trans identified clients? Have you written any letters on behalf of your clients? If you haven’t, why not? What stops you? What’s the average number of sessions you would need to see me (or my partner, my spouse, my grandparent, my kiddo, et al.) for you to write a letter for hormones (or surgeries etc)? What changes the length of time that you would need to see someone to write them a letter?
-How do you protect my confidentiality?
-How often do you often see clients (weekly, every other week, twice a week, monthly etc)?
-Are you cash pay only? Do you take insurance? Are you in network with any panels? Are you planning on leaving the panels anytime soon? Are you in the process of adding any panels soon? Are you willing to jump through any hoops in order for me to bill my insurance plan (these days, even out of network clinicians often need to submit paperwork to the insurance companies so that clients can use their insurance).
-Do you do telemental health sessions? Or phone sessions?
-Do you have an all gender bathroom?
-How accessible are you to my needs? For example, How many, if any steps are there to enter your office or your bathroom? What is your scent policy? Is there an elevator? Can I fit my wheelchair through your door? Are animals allowed in your space? Is there a sign up saying that you are LGBT-affirming? What is parking like in the area? Are you close to any bus lines or trolley stops?
These are the questions I encourage people to ask to their potential therapist. You get to decide, of course, which questions are most important to you, and then, ask those. If you love furry doggies, then you might be super jazzed to find out that dogs are allowed in the space but if you are super allergic to doggies, this might pose a problem. (At Waves, we do not allow pets due to allergies, unless it is a service animal and then, please let us know how we can support you.)
These questions are meant as things to think about as you look to find a therapist that can meet your needs and help you change your life for the better.