What is a Mental Health Consultation?
A Mental Health Consultation, often called an assessment or initial consultation, is usually a 30-60 minute appointment where you talk through your current difficulties with a therapist to determine a treatment plan to help you. Some therapists provide a therapy agreement ahead of, or during, this appointment that details information about confidentiality, information sharing and any terms of therapy – usually relating to attendance and fees – and gain your informed consent to proceed. You can find ours under Terms of Service on our website.
What to Expect
The therapist will have a number of questions they will ask to really understand your problem and how they may be able to help. There should also be plenty of time for you to ask any questions you may have.
As part of this process, you may be given some questionnaires to complete that screen for anxiety and depression. These are not diagnostic tools but are a useful in identifying particular symptoms and their ongoing use can help measure progress and inform treatment. If you have the opportunity to complete these questionnaires ahead of your appointment, this may help you identify specific areas you really want to raise and discuss.
While CBT therapists identify symptoms to establish a presenting problem, they do not provide diagnoses. Being treated for depression, for example, does not mean that you have been formally diagnosed with depression.
By the end of the appointment, the aim is for you to have agreed some next steps. If progressing with CBT treatment, your therapist should be able to give an indication of how many sessions you will likely be required and the duration and frequency of these.
How to Prepare for a Mental Health Consultation
No formal preparation is required as such, but it can be helpful to think of or note down any key points you want to discuss or any questions you may have. It can also be helpful to have considered what the main problem is that you would like support with and any goals you may have related to this. For example, your main problem may be that you have been feeling low in mood, lacking motivation and enjoyment and your goal may therefore be to feel brighter in mood, re-start activities you used to enjoy and plan something to look forward to. You may wish to take a notebook to jot down any key points or actions you discuss during the consultation and it can helpful to have your diary handy to schedule in any next appointments.
Taking Time for Yourself after Your Consultation
Sometimes people can feel tired after an initial consultation. It can be difficult to talk through your problems and to answer questions relating to this, especially if you have not done this before. You may wish to consider having some time after the consultation to take a break or have some time out for yourself. This may also allow some time to reflect on and process what you have discussed and think about next steps. You might find that you think of questions after your consultation. If so, you can note these down to ask at your next appointment.
Book a Mental Health Consultation with Brighter Minds
If you would like to book an initial consultation with us, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.