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What to Say When Reaching Out to a Therapist for the First Time.

Updated: Sep 5

So you've taken a big step and started researching therapists. You've found one who looks like they might be a good fit but now you have to hit that "contact now" button and you have no idea what to say. We get it. This can be an intimidating process but this article will show you what to expect and provide some examples of what to say when you're ready to push that contact button.


What to say when reaching out to a therapist for the first time

Keep it Brief

When reaching out to a therapist for the first time, you do not need to spill your guts. Keep it brief. Not only does this save time for you, it also protects you from having to re-tell your need/story to multiple different therapists.


Ask Clarifying Questions This is a great time to ask some clarifying questions which may be deal breaks for you moving forward, ex. "Do you accept _______ insurance" "Do you have evening availability" "Do you meet in person or virtual"

Provide a time for a brief consult or first session

Providing some days and times that you would be available to chat or meet for an initial session is greatly appreciated! Not only does it cut down on back-and-forth communication, but that means you may be able to schedule quicker.


How do you want to be contacted

It is really helpful to share the best way to contact you. Some therapists will only email, others will call or even text. Simply share which is best for you; again, this helps you to get scheduled quicker.


Example

"Hi there,

I came across your Psychology Today Profile/Website and I am interested in working with you for therapy. Are you currently taking new clients? If so, are you meeting in person or virtual?

I'd be available to chat further to see if we're a good fit or I'm happy to also schedule an initial session; Tuesdays and Thursdays after 2pm are typically good for me. Feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email is good too.


I look forward to hearing from you."


What to expect next Typically, therapists will respond to your initial contact within 48 hours. At this time there could be a few responses:


- They are accepting new clients and are able to schedule you an appointment. From there they may send you some intake documents which would require your name, email address and sometimes date of birth and insurance number (if you're using insurance).

- They would like to work with you but have a short waitlist for the times you requested. You could join their waitlist or provide other times that may work for you

- They are not accepting new clients or adding to the waitlist. When this happens some therapists will provide you with contact information for other therapists that they recommend.

- No response. While it is not best practice, it is possible that you will not get a response. If this is the case, you could try reaching them by phone or pick a new therapist.


That is all! We understand how nerve wracking this process can be but hope that these tips make reaching out a little bit easier.


Written by Charlotte Cox, MSW, LCSW Therapist & Co-owner of Orenda Counseling LLC.

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