Preparing for your therapy appointment at Johnson County Mental Health Center
If you or your child has thoughts of suicide, call 913-268-0156 and ask to talk with a crisis therapist or call 911 and ask about your local emergency number immediately.
If you or your child has not been checked out by a family doctor for any medical concerns, doing so prior to your therapy appointment would be a good idea. Sometimes health issues can cause psychological problems.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your therapist.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long.
- Write down your key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, both positive and negative. Even happy events such as getting married or adding a new child to your family can cause adjustment disorder.
- Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications you're taking.
- Take a trusted family member or friend along, if you are the one with symptoms. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your therapist in advance so that you can make the most of your appointment.
- Call the Afterhours Crisis Line 913-268-0156 or come to Crisis Clinic Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. in the Olathe or Mission Offices.
Some basic questions to ask your therapist include:
- What do you believe is causing these symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- How will you determine the diagnosis?
- Is this condition likely temporary or chronic?
- Do you recommend treatment? If yes, with what types of therapy?
- How soon do you expect symptoms to improve?
- Should school staff or work colleagues be made aware of this diagnosis?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What Web sites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your therapist, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your therapist
Being ready to answer your therapist's questions may save some time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth.
- You or your child should be prepared to answer the following questions from your therapist:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you or your loved ones first notice your symptoms?
- What major changes have recently occurred in your life, both positive and negative?
- Are you talking with friends or family about these changes?
- How often do you feel sad or depressed?
- How often do you feel anxious or worried?
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- Do you have difficulty finishing tasks at home, work or school that previously felt manageable to you?
- Are you avoiding social or family events?
- Have been having any problems at school or work?
- Have you made any impulsive decisions or engaged in reckless behavior that doesn't seem like you?
- What other symptoms or behaviors are causing you or your loved ones distress?
- Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
- Do you drink alcohol or use illicit drugs? How often?
- Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?
What you can do in the meantime
While you're waiting for your therapist appointment, try reaching out to trusted friends or family. Talking about your feelings and asking for help is the most important thing you can do to aid your recovery.
If it is your child who has symptoms, try gently encouraging him or her to talk about feelings. Many parents assume that talking about a difficult change, such as divorce, will only make a child feel worse. But the opposite is true. Your child needs the opportunity to express feelings of grief, and to hear your reassurance that you'll remain a constant source of love and support.
As already mentioned, call the Afterhours Crisis Line at 913-268-0156 or come to Crisis Clinic as needed.