What to expect on your first visit

Your initial visit will typically require two hours. Subsequent visits are usually fifteen minutes to an hour long.

I will ask you to complete a Patient Information Form, giving details like address and phone number, person to contact in an emergency, and health insurance. You will then meet with Tim, our medical assistant. Tim will interview you to determine any allergies you have to medications or other substances, record your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, and make a list of your current medications and dosages. Please bring with you a list of your medications and dosages. If you are unfamiliar with medication names and dosages, just bring in your prescription bottles and he will record the information from them.

Tim will interview you to get a sense of your medical history with regard to both mental health and physical ailments. He will also ask you about any family members who have histories of mental health or substance abuse disorders, and about your own use of alcohol, recreational drugs, tobacco, and caffeine. Unless these matters change, affecting your treatment plan, this is usually a one-time discussion.

Next is a procedure we do on every visit, called the Review of Systems. This is a strictly verbal assessment of any symptoms you are experiencing at the time of the initial visit, but it addresses nineteen different organs and systems (eyes, ears, heart, lungs, etc.). Despite its length, this usually goes very quickly.

The final step in the interview with Tim involves the administration of some psychometric tests. There are two tests, measuring depression and anxiety, that we perform on every office visit. Tim may administer one or more additional tests, depending on the content of the information you provided.

The entire portion of the visit with Tim usually requires 30 to 45 minutes. During this time, Tim is gathering and entering information into the medical chart that I will use during my portion of the visit, and subsequently during your course of treatment. When Tim is finished, he notifies me, and you and I meet privately in my office for about an hour to review Tim’s charting, corroborate it, complete the rest of the history, formulate the diagnosis, and discuss and agree upon a treatment plan. This may require more than one initial meeting.