The First Intake Session in Private Practice, What You Should Be Doing

Today we are going to show you what you need to do during your first intake session in private practice.

The first intake session in private practice feels nothing short of walking into dark woods on a cold winter night. You aren’t sure how to navigate through this and are scared to see the outcome.

Don’t worry! I’m here to help you create your process with confidence.

When you are in your own private practice you get to decide the rules on how you should handle your intake session. 

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Each state has its own set of laws that they require you to follow, but other than that, this system is yours to make.

When a client first reaches out to you to maybe book an appointment you should set up your intake phone call.

I have the blog for that right here.

Once you get done with that phone call and they have booked their first appointment, you should send them a confirmation or welcome email.

The key to this email is to keep it short and to the point so that it isn’t overwhelming to your new client, but still covers all the basics.

In this email, you should start by saying welcome to your practice, and telling them it was great speaking with them.

Give them the address to your office, along with any special instructions they may need to follow, or if you are doing teletherapy, explain how to log on for a session and give them so tips on spaces they should be doing their sessions in.

This is also where you should include your intake paperwork. 

We recommend that you use digital, paperless forms that allow your clients to do the paperwork online and keeps everything HIPAA secure.

Be sure to have their phone number and email address put into an appointment scheduler. 

Pick one that gives them appointment reminders. This will really reduce the rate of no shows in your private practice.

On the day of the appointment, greet them a few minutes before the intake session is scheduled. 

They may be anxious during this part, so be kind here. If you’re meeting in person, show them where the restrooms are located, as well as where they can get water.

Guide them into your office and show them where they can sit. Let them know that you are going to be using today’s appointment to see what and how they can be helped and you are going to start by going over the intake paperwork with them.

Give them the opportunity to ask any questions about the paperwork that they may have. 

Then use the next few minutes to cover your confidentiality rules. Next, cover your cancellation policy and what happens when you all see each other in public, should the need arise.

Then you will proceed to do your intake assessment here, this will be up to your discretion on how you like to handle your clients.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of the problem, get any history you may feel necessary, and cover a treatment plan so your client is aware of your goals.

This should cover your entire intake session.

In the last five minutes of your session, you should spend time scheduling for the next session, and give them the floor to ask any questions or concerns they may have.

Leave us comments on how much this video helped you get ready for your first intake session.

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