What to Expect at Your First Appointment

After checking in with the receptionist, you will complete our registration forms and be responsible for paying your co-pay, or for the entire visit if you are not using insurance. Your first visit with the doctor will last about 30-45 minutes. You will be asked many general and specific questions about yourself, your life, past history, what causes you stress, what symptoms you are have recently experienced, and the reason for your visit.

It is important to be completely honest in order to have the best possible outcome in your treatment. Remember, everything you tell your doctor is completely confidential, no one is judging you or your behavior, and the doctor's office is a safe place to talk about anything that may be troubling you. If you think you might forget some things you want to tell the doctor, it is okay to bring a short list with you. (Unfortunately, there is often not enough time to address a large number of concerns in a single visit.) Because there are no lab tests that can diagnosis most psychiatric illnesses, the doctor will have to base their diagnosis on the information they get from you. Sometimes the doctor may be considering more than one possibility, but they will typically tell you what they think is most likely.

Once a diagnosis is made, you will be given information about your treatment plan. It may include suggestions to exercise or change some of your daily habits, a recommendation to talk with a therapist, or a trial of medication. You can ask questions about your diagnosis and treatment plan to ensure your complete understanding.

How To Be Prepared For Your First Appointment
Please bring the following to your first appointment:

A photo ID such as a Driver's license

Your insurance card
(or a method of payment for the first visit)

Your completed registration paperwork

Note: We highly recommend completing the registration paperwork before your appointment, but if that is not possible we ask that you arrive twenty minutes early and bring the following:

A list of medications you are currently taking

A list of any psychiatric drugs you have tried in the past

Your medical doctor's name and address or phone number

Any other documents you consider important for the doctor to know about

Follow Up Appointments

If you are prescribed medication the doctor will want to see you again soon to make sure you are tolerating the medicine well and that you are feeling better. Follow-up appointments vary in length depending on whether your doctor is doing brief psychotherapy with you or if you only need a medication management visit. Follow up appointments generally last about 20 minutes (unless your insurance only allows the doctor to perform a brief medication management visit).


If your doctor recommends medication, you may need to try more than one to find the right combination of symptom relief without unwanted side effects. Many medications can cause harmless but annoying side effects such as dry-mouth, constipation, stomach upset, diarrhea, headaches or dizziness. These side effects usually go away after a few days or weeks, but if they are intolerable, your doctor may choose to prescribe another medicine during a follow-up visit with you.


Therapy can be offered as an alternative to or in combination with medication. If your doctor recommends therapy, our office has three therapists with an array of specialties and therapeutic techniques. If you would like our office can assist you in finding a therapist.


We know that understanding your insurance company's mental health benefits can be confusing. Mental health benefits are often determined and paid by another company hired by your medical insurance company, and although you may not know that company, our billing staff will likely be familiar with them.

Our office will do everything we can to help you use your insurance, including finding out what your co-pay is and if you have a deductible. Before your visit, our preauthorization specialist will gather basic information to determine if you need to do anything in order to use your insurance. Afterward, our expert billing staff will directly bill your insurance for you if we are in their network.

We encourage you to become familiar with the mental health benefits you have available because nearly every insurance plan is different. Our billing department will attempt to get your visits authorized if necessary, but you will want to be aware of when your insurance requires more visits to be authorized. We are here to help you every step of the way with this requirement.

(Hover over each company to see who is in their network.)

Insurance We Accept & Bill:

  • Aetna
  • Advocate (Magellan)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO
  • Chicago Health Systems
  • Medicare
  • MultiPlan / PHCS
  • PsycHealth
  • Palmetto