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The first appointment

Arrive 15 minutes early because you will probably be given some forms to fill out. They may include medical information, insurance information and an assessment about how you feel. You will also be given information on their privacy policy and HIPAA which is the federal law ensuring your privacy.

The clinician's office should be an easy, comfortable place to talk. If something about it bothers you, tell them.

Your clinician may tell you a bit about themselves and will probably ask you some general questions about interests, family, work or school to help you feel comfortable. Then they will ask how they can help or why you have come. Just explain why you've come in your own words or pull out that list of notes! The clinician will probably ask you some questions to help better understand your situation.

At the end of your conversation (usually 30-50 minutes) you should decide if you are comfortable with this person. If you are, does the clinician think he or she can help you or does he or she think a referral to a different specialist would be best for you? Ask the clinician how you should proceed. You can write down the next steop to help you remember after you leave.