Many people are nervous when meeting with a new mental health provider for the first time. These tips will help you come prepared and ensure a positive experience:

When to arrive for your appointment:

Prior to meeting with your provider, you will need to complete a number of new client forms. Please arrive 20-30 minutes ahead of your appointment time to check in and complete the new client paperwork.

You can save time on the day of your appointment by completing the New Client Personal History Form online ahead of time.

What to bring to your appointment:

  • A complete list of all prescription medications you're currently taking. Often your pharmacy can print this list for you.
  • Your ID and insurance card
  • Any questions and concerns for your clinician

Understanding Therapy vs Psychiatry:

At ACP, your care may fall into two basic types of treatment: therapy (also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy or counseling) and psychiatry (medication).


If you are looking for non-medication help, you will be meeting with a therapy provider. Therapy providers include licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage/family therapists and clinical counselors.

At your initial therapy appointment, your therapist will spend the majority of your appointment asking standard questions (including some that may not feel immediately relevant to your problems) in order to learn everything they need to make their initial diagnosis. This may include questions about your medical and family history, history of mental health treatment, and drug/alcohol history. Before the end of your session, you and your therapist will discuss your treatment goals and how often you should return.

Depending on the nature of your problems, your therapist may also refer you to a psychiatry provider for medication, to one of our therapy groups, or for additional psychological testing to help guide your diagnosis and treatment.


If you are seeking medication to help manage physical symptoms of a mental health disorder, you will be meeting with a psychiatry provider, either a physician or an advanced practice nurse with a certification in psychiatric services. The goal of this appointment is to assess your symptoms and health history and come up with a medication plan. You will likely leave the appointment with one or more prescriptions for medication, and will be asked to schedule a follow up appointment for a few weeks later, to see how the prescribed medications are working for you.

Psychiatric appointments do not include therapy. For the best possible outcomes, we encourage all clients receiving medication services to see a therapist prior to their psychiatry appointment and also on a regular basis.

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