Your First Visit…What to Expect

For your first visit, after gathering some demographic information, we will ask you what you have been struggling with in the last 30 days, and work our way back in time. There are a lot of details that may inform us what you’re struggling with, including your family history, your medical history, your job, your family, and your experience with medication or doctors.

We will talk about all of these things and a lot of other things. Once we have a sense of what your struggles are, and what diagnoses we think you may have, we will then discuss what treatments may help you. While making the right diagnosis is important and often crucial to receiving the best treatment, our ultimate goal is to help you maximize your quality of life.

In addition to medication, we will talk about nonpharmacologic treatments as well.    If you already have a therapist we will ask you to sign consent for release of information to be able to discuss your treatment with them. We will discuss what medication can do for psychiatric illness, and what they can’t do. We will also discuss the common side effects of medications.

Psychotherapy and medication are very powerful tools for treatment of psychiatric illness, but certainly not the only things helpful for relief of symptoms. Sometimes psychiatric illness is so severe that medication is necessary. However, often there are many things people can do to help themselves with their illness, and we will discuss some or all of the following as appropriate to your struggles:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Smartphone apps
  • Light therapy
  • Eating habits
  • Spirituality

At the end of our 60-minute visit, we will hopefully come to an agreement on a treatment plan. If this includes medication, we arrange for a prescription to be available to you.  In rare instances, we will provide a paper prescription(s) for medication.  Also, if I think we need to “rule out” other medical causes of your mood or psychiatric symptoms, we will provide you with a paper prescription for some minor blood work.

If we both believe that Better Stories will be a good “fit” for your treatment, we will schedule a follow-up visit with you for 30 minutes approximately a month later.  If things arise, or your symptoms worsen acutely we are available by phone and email.  If needed we can bring you in for an appointment sooner. We will typically see people every month for 30 minutes until we have established a stable treatment regimen.  Once we have established a stable treatment regimen, we will often stretch out our visits to once every 2-3 months with your mutual agreement.

Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you.