Here’s what to expect during your first appointment with Talking for Change
Taking the first step to speak to a professional about your concerns is a monumental first step to getting help. At Talking for Change, we recognize that this may be daunting – many of our clients have never discussed their concerns with anyone before chatting with us. We also know that attending a TFC appointment is a nerve-wracking endeavour since you’re not sure what to expect. You may be wondering, “how do I tell a stranger I am sexually attracted to children?” or “Is a therapist obligated to tell the police if I tell them I’m attracted to children?” – all valid concerns at the beginning of your journey.
Point blank, reaching out and setting up an appointment takes a lot of courage. To ensure you feel comfortable reaching out, we want to provide some information about what you can expect at your first appointment.
Initial screening call
Prior to your first appointment, a TFC clinician or intake co-ordinator will reach out to you by phone to get a better sense of what you are looking for and to see if our program may be a potential fit. The program is for those who do not have current legal involvement for a sexual offence, so we will often ask about this during the call before booking a first appointment. This phone call also gives you a chance to ask any questions you have about any part of the program. We will also go over the limits to confidentiality in that screening call, which will help you understand what will happen with any information you share with us and help you to decide if you want to move forward.
Your first appointment
Your first assessment appointment is with a TFC clinician who has a lot of expertise in working with people who are concerned about their sexual interests, urges, fantasies, or behaviour. Most of these appointments are 2-3 hours long and are virtual, though there may be opportunities for an in-person appointment if needed. The clinicians who conduct these appointments have many years of experience working with clients who have similar concerns and stive to provide high-quality and non-judgmental services.
During the first appointment, we go over various paperwork, discuss the services we provide, get to know you by asking you many questions about your background, your mental health history, and your sexual history. We recognize that sometimes these topics can make people uncomfortable, but all the clinicians in the program have a lot of experience working with clients who have similar concerns and are here to help.
We will also ask you to fill out some questionnaires and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you have or voice any concerns. The purpose of this first meeting is to get a detailed understanding of what led you to reach out to our program and allows both the clinician and you to determine whether the program may be a good fit.
Feedback and recommendations to move forward
At the end of the first appointment, the TFC clinician will provide you with feedback and recommendations and then inform you if you are eligible for the therapy program. If you are eligible, it is completely up to you to decide if you want to pursue the TFC program (and there is no obligation to do so). If you are not eligible for the TFC program, the clinician will provide you with recommendations and steps that you can take to secure support.
We work hard to ensure that the first appointment is a positive experience for all our clients. In fact, we have received feedback that many people appreciate the opportunity to talk to someone about their concerns and that it feels good to finally discuss things that they may not have told others. Clients often find this is an empowering experience, and we hope to do that for as many individuals as possible who need help.