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. If you want to use telehealth / online counseling, learn about the Telehealth / Online Counseling services available.
  6. If you want in-person sessions, look at the office Location information to determine if you will have any difficulties getting to the office.
  7. 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.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. You will also get emails or document links that explain important details you will need to attend your session, such as how to attend a telehealth session or how to access locked doors (if any) at the in-person office location.
  12. If you have any questions along the way, just call me, and I’ll be happy to help you through the process.

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

What if I’m scared to call?

No problem! All calls are handled by me, Kristen.

I have been afraid to make difficult phone calls too (shaky voice, squeeks, fumbled words, and all), so I understand! I typically don’t answer my phone for incoming calls (I may be working with clients, driving, in meetings, 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.

You can write a script for yourself and read it if that helps.

First, 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.) I appreciate it when people repeat 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.

If possible, let me know when you are available for a call back. People often say things like, “I’m available for phone calls on Tuesdays after 5pm” or “I’m available for a call back any day before noon”.

(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.

How do you know if it’s me? I always answer my business phone by saying something like “Thank you for calling Gresham Counseling and Therapy”, and I sound like an American woman from west coast, so if a male voice or a voice with a different accent answers, or if somebody says just “Hello” or gives a different business name, then say “I think I have the wrong number”, hand up, check the number, and try again.

What if I’m scared to answer when I get a call back?

I handle all the phone calls. No one else will be calling you. It can take several days for me to get back to you because I have a lot of phone calls and meetings. If you don’t answer, I will leave a message for you in your voicemail. (I can’t leave a message, though, if you don’t have voicemail or if your voicemail is full.) I won’t keep bothering you with phone calls. I may call 2-3 times if your voicemail is unavailable, but otherwise, I just leave a message once. You can call me back when you’re ready and leave a message letting me know when you are available to talk. It’s OK if we play “phone tag” for awhile.

What if I’m anxious about going to your office?

Many people feel anxious about going to a new place or doing something unfamiliar.

If you need extra time to relax, you can arrive early and visit a local cafe, wait in your car, wait outside, or wait the lobby if there is room.

What if I’m anxious about being on video for telehealth sessions?

This is extremely common. I also get a bit self-conscious about being on video. Your telehealth session is not recorded. Just as in an in-person office session, in which you and I are talking face-to-face, a telehealth session is similar. It can take awhile to get used to. In most cases, you should be able to turn off your view of yourself in the video feed to reduce being distracted by it. Eventually, you may even forget that a camera is in front of you.

What if I get lost?

This one is tricky because I won’t be able to answer my phone to help you if I’m in a session with another client or if I’m driving on my way to the office. But call me anyhow and leave a message. If I’m available, I will call you back and try to help.

Double check the address and put it in a reliable GPS app (like Google Maps).

What if I’m late?

If you are a bit late to an in-person session, that’s OK. Many people are late for their first session because there can be problems finding the building, traffic stuff, 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.

If you are late to an online session, that’s OK, too! Technical glitches can get in the way, and sometimes it can be hard to find a private place where you are alone. Just call me or send me a secured message to let me know.

We can start late, but we will still end on 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 don’t show up 20 minutes after your appointment time, and I don’t hear from you, I’ll assume you’re not coming and may leave for the day or let the next client start early, so please notify me if you are going to be late.

What if I need to end/leave early?

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

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