New Clients: Getting Started

Step by Step

  1. Learn about counseling: Read the FAQ about Counseling.
  2. Learn about my Specialties. If I am not able to provide service for your situation, I may be able to give you information about another provider who may be able to meet your needs; however, I cannot guarantee that any suggestions I provide will fit your needs.
  3. Find out about Hours for Appointments to learn if my schedule will meet your needs.
  4. Find out about Fees and Payments.
  5. Look at the office Location information to determine if you will have any difficulties getting to the office.
  6. Go to Forms for Appointments and review the forms about professional and privacy policies. (Don’t sign them yet! You will need to fill out the forms and sign them online (electronically) later.)
  7. Call me, Kristen, at (503) 766-9083 to talk about your counseling needs, scheduling, questions, and concerns. This phone consultation is required before we can schedule an appointment.
  8. If you decide to schedule an appointment, you can do this during the phone consultation, or you can ask to be placed on a wait list (if the time you need is not yet available) or contact me again later when you are able to coordinate your schedule.
  9. Once you schedule an appointment, you will be sent an email with a link to a secured patient/client portal where you can fill out your intake documents (all the fun paperwork stuff) online. This paperwork MUST be filled out before your first session. If you need help filling it out, please call me and let me know.
  10. Get the office building’s front door security code. The front door of the building is locked for security purposes, and you will need to enter a code to unlock the door. This code should be emailed to you, but please call me if you don’t get it.

Common Concerns of New Clients Who Want to Make that First Appointment

What if I’m scared to call?

No problem! I’ve been afraid to make difficult phone calls too (shaky voice and all), so I understand. I typically don’t answer my phone for incoming calls (I may be working with clients, driving, etc.), so your call will likely go to voicemail. I will only call you back if you leave a message, so you can feel free to take little steps to build up your courage to leave a message. This means you can call and hang up immediately. Later, you can call, listen to my voicemail greeting, and hang up without leaving a message. Then when you’re ready, you can call and leave a message, and I can call you back.

What if I don’t know what to say in the voicemail?

A helpful tip: it’s OK to pause for a moment in voicemails, so you can slow down and breathe. No rush required.

I need your name (first and last) and your phone number (with area code) to call you back. Please be sure you leave this information first and say it as clearly as you can. (Sometimes when we get stressed, we may speak really fast or mumble quietly without realizing it, so take a breath and slow down if you need to when giving me this information.)

Next, it helps me to know why you are calling. People usually say things like, “I’d like to make an appointment to help me with my anxiety” or “I’m looking for counseling to help me with my relationships, and I’m only available on Mondays”. Feel free to change how you say it or add any information you’d like. You can even write a script for yourself and read it.

(Please note: I only speak English fluently, so if you leave a message in another language, I won’t be able to understand it. I’m so sorry.)

Again, most importantly, be sure that I have your name and phone number, so I can call you back (it’s OK to repeat it).

And if you make mistakes in your voicemail, that’s OK. No worries! Just call back and leave another message.

What if you do answer the phone, and I’m not ready to talk?

You can say, “Hi, um, I didn’t expect you to answer” and try to proceed. You can tell me “Uh, I’ll call back later” and hang up. You can even just hang up without saying anything. It’s really OK. I don’t mind.

What if somebody else answers the phone?

I am the only person who answers my business phone. If someone else answers, you may have called the wrong number. Check the number and try again.

What if I’m scared to go to your office?

Many people feel anxious about going to a new place or doing something unfamiliar. The building is often filled with friendly people. Just ask for help if you need it.

If you need extra time to relax, you can arrive early and wait in your car, wait outside, or wait the lobby if you want time to relax (bring something to keep yourself quietly entertained).

If you are a bit late, that’s OK. Many people are late for their first session because there can be problems finding the building or parking challenges (and sometimes, it’s just hard to get out of the house on time). Don’t speed or drive dangerously to get to your session. Call me if it is safe to do so, so I know you’re going to be late. We can start late, but we will still end at your scheduled appointment end-time (usually 10 minutes before the hour; e.g. 9:50am, 12:50pm, 4:50pm, etc.), and you will still be charged for the full session.

If you need to leave early, that’s OK too, but you will still be charged for the full session. 

Comments are closed.