For many people, an initial consultation to determine whether or not a particular health care provider is likely to be a good fit for them can be an important step in their journey towards improved health and well-being. Consequently, I suggest you consider your initial appointment to be a time for us to meet and decide if it makes sense for us to work together. These appointments are usually 30 to 50 minutes in length and involve a conversation about what you are looking for, an opportunity for you to ask me any questions you might have about my work, and if you would like, any suggestions I might have to help you find the best fit for your needs.
If we both feel we are a good fit, we will decide together on our next step, usually either scheduling an appointment for an initial assessment or a first session. Initial assessments are designed to help us in your treatment planning. These assessments usually involve one appointment for you to complete some paper-and-pencil or computer based assessments and another appointment that uses computer based physiological monitoring or biofeedback to gather a psychophysiological profile of autonomic nervous system responses (temperature, heart-rate, respiration, skin conductance, and muscle tension) and a brainwave profile using non-invasive surface sensors. Both my experience, and continued careful reviews of the research literature in my field, have convinced me that successful outcomes are dependent on our developing a good working relationship and on my learning enough about you to be able to make good treatment planning recommendations to you. Consequently, we may spend an hour and a half or more together to complete the components of your initial assessment. To summarize in brief, the initial step varies from patient to patient and may consists of: Optional paper-and-pencil or computer measures you may complete in the office before our initial session. If we agree ahead of time that this will be done I will try to schedule private time for you in the conference room to complete these measures if you would like. An optional computer based psychophysiological profile of autonomic nervous system responses (temperature, heart-rate, respiration, skin conductance, and muscle tension) and brainwave profile using non-invasive surface sensors.
A blend of interview and conversation about your concerns, your history, and your interests in seeking treatment with me at this time. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have at this (or any other) time.
At your appointment following your initial assessments we will review the results and I will ask for your feedback. Together we will develop a treatment plan or talk about other referrals if the assessment suggests I would not be able to offer you the services you need or desire or if we do not think we would be able to work well together.
If we decide to work together, we would expect to see some improvements in twelve weeks after we begin our work. If we do not see improvements within that time frame we will need to change our approach or I will assist you with a referral to another practitioner to help you get the services you need or want. I will be happy to see you for as many sessions as you would like provided that you are continuing to progress.
Applied psychophysiology, biofeedback, and health psychology sessions are not like traditional medical visits in that they require a very active effort on your part. They are most like private tutoring sessions you might have experienced such as taking music lessons or learning a particular physical activity like dancing, swimming, or soccer skills. In order for treatment to be successful, daily practice and symptom monitoring must occur outside of our sessions and I will routinely ask for your feedback and views on our work together and on the progress you will be making.
I am fully committed to giving you as much time as is required to assist you, including face-to-face contact, my personal time to review current, relevant research specific to your concerns, and, with your approval, to consult with other practitioners.
Ruby Beach, WA 2007
D. Nierenberg, Ph.D. Copyright June, 2007 Rev. Dec 2008