Intake Process FAQs

General Intake FAQs

  • What are the primary goals of the diagnostic intake evaluation process?
    • The first goal is to assess the presenting problem and review symptoms, level of interference with functioning, and determine possible diagnoses. The second goal is to formulate a treatment plan aimed at reducing symptoms and improving functioning. The third goal is to provide psychoeducation on evidence-based treatments and answer patients’ questions about how the specific treatment plan tailored to you will be implemented, the frequency of sessions, what to expect in terms of outcome, and how much time (e.g., number of sessions) to invest. For child patients, the intake evaluation also includes the parent(s)/caregiver(s) to provide guidance and psychoeducation on how they can best support their child’s treatment.


  • How many sessions is the diagnostic intake evaluation process?
    • The intake evaluation occurs over the course of 3-4 separate appointments, depending on your specific concerns. When you call to make your appointment, the intake coordinator will let you know how many sessions your/your child’s intake evaluation will be.


  • Why is the diagnostic intake evaluation process multiple sessions? Could the number of sessions be reduced?
    • Our intake evaluation process meets the gold standard for diagnosis, case formulation, and treatment planning. Most people come to us because they have a specific issue that they want addressed with a brief, solution-focused approach. These early sessions are designed to gather the necessary information to formulate a solution-focused treatment plan so that, in the long run, treatment is efficient and successful. In the process, you also gain a feel for working with our team, allowing you to see if we are a good fit for you. Sometimes people can feel that they go to a therapist and don’t know if they want to come back, they are unclear of the treatment goals and purpose, and they may realize that they are going along with the therapist because they feel uncertain and don’t know what else to do, but also don’t feel secure. At ATSA, we clearly lay out what our clinical impressions are and talk transparently with you on whether or not we can meet your needs. If we cannot, we have enough information to provide you with appropriate referral options. If we can meet your needs, but you would like more time to think about the treatment plan we propose, we want you to have that time to think it through. What we don’t want is for you to feel like you are wasting your time or have you feel like you don’t know where treatment is going. Therapy is an investment of time and money, and we never want you to feel that you are stuck or have no options. We are called Advanced Therapeutic Solutions for this reason, because either way, we want you to have enough information to make a decision and reach a solution to your presenting problem. In summary, having 3-4 sessions allows us to get to know you, and it allows you to get to know us, without having to make any unspoken commitment that you are for certain going to pursue treatment with us.


  • I have/my child already has a diagnosis. Why is it necessary to be re-evaluated by an ATSA clinician?
    • Any time you go to a doctor, the doctor has to assess your symptoms. For example, if you have a migraine, and your primary care physician diagnoses it and refers you to a neurologist, the neurologist also does their assessment. They are, in a sense, doing a re-evaluation. The same is true with therapy. Therapy cannot begin without first having a diagnostic evaluation. All therapists begin with completing a diagnostic evaluation on the patient that comes to see them for therapy. Third-party payors (e.g., insurance) may also not cover the subsequent therapy sessions if a diagnostic evaluation has not been completed first. If you are seeking an in-network exception to come to us for treatment, your insurance will need to have our results from the diagnostic evaluation and treatment plan to consider your request for the in-network exception. In addition, and especially because we treat anxiety and OCD, our sessions go beyond clinic-based sessions. We offer home, school, and community sessions tailored to the individual. Because of this, our diagnostic intake evaluation allows our clinicians to assess the severity of a patient’s anxiety and OCD symptoms across multiple contexts so that they can target what are called “context cues” to the fear and create an appropriate treatment plan. Information on past diagnoses and treatment is definitely beneficial for our clinicians to use during the diagnostic and treatment planning process, so we encourage you to include information on previous treatments or recommendations from past providers with your intake paperwork.


  • My child already has a diagnosis, and I would like to enroll them in group therapy and/or Adventure Camp. Do they still need to do a diagnostic intake evaluation at ATSA?
    • ATSA offers multiple levels of group therapy. Because we also treat the anxiety disorder, selective mutism (SM), the child with SM cannot start a group “cold” because they may be mute in the group setting, which would go against their treatment needs. We would need to assess if they are ready for the group-level of therapy, or if they need to meet benchmarks in individual therapy first. For other anxiety presentations where mutism is not a risk, we do want to ensure group match for cohesion. In order to determine a child’s preparedness for group therapy, and to determine the most appropriate group placement, we evaluate your child, talk to their primary provider if applicable, and also talk with you about the goals you have for your child’s treatment. Again, we don’t want to waste your time or money, so gathering this information helps you decide if we are a good match. Likewise, an evaluation is also necessary to determine preparedness for our intensive group therapies such as Adventure Camp and Winter Adventure. For more information about diagnostic intake evaluation for Adventure Camp and Winter Adventure, see section 3 (with an emphasis on question 3.9) in our Adventure Camp FAQs. For more information about the levels of group therapy and why an intake evaluation is important for appropriate placements, see our group therapy page. 
  • Can I do telehealth appointments for diagnostic intake evaluation appointments?
    • We do offer telehealth services; availability for telehealth appointments will vary depending on location. Diagnostic intake evaluation appointments can be completed over telehealth, including parent-child observation sessions (determined on a case-by-case basis). To see where our providers are licensed to practice, please see “Where we practice” on our website.


Child/Adolescent Diagnostic Intake Evaluation

  • How involved are parents in the intake process?
    • If you have taken your child or teen to therapy before, chances are you either didn’t meet with the therapist alone beforehand, or they met with you briefly, then with your child, or they met with you and your child at the same time. Chances are, they may not have spent enough time with you alone to gather your perspective of the presenting problem. They may have started with just a cursory view of the problem. When a child or teen has an anxiety disorder, it affects the whole family. At ATSA, we are scientist-practitioners and know that, backed by science, anxiety is a systemic process and requires that we treat the whole system. Effective treatment includes gathering the caregiver(s) perspective of the problem, how it’s impacting their child, the siblings, the parents, etc. Therefore, parent(s)/caregiver(s) are involved in their child’s treatment, beginning with the diagnostic evaluation appointments. The diagnostic intake evaluation process begins and ends with parent/caregiver-only sessions– the Diagnostic Evaluation and Parent Feedback sessions. In addition, throughout their child’s treatment, parents will have parent-only sessions to receive updates regarding progress and discuss treatment planning. 


  • For parent sessions, will there be childcare available for my child?
    • We do not have childcare available on-site, so please arrange for childcare for the parent sessions. Some parents choose to have one parent stay with the child while the other meets with the clinician, while others arrange independent childcare and both attend– that decision is up to the parents. We also offer telehealth services (availability of telehealth sessions may vary), which provides additional flexibility. Please note that your child should not be present during the telehealth sessions.


  • Do I need to explain the intake diagnostic evaluation process and/or therapy to my child? How do I do it?
    • Your decision on how to explain the intake process will largely depend on your child’s age, their anxiety presentation, and your specific concerns. Reassurance-seeking behavior is a common symptom in anxiety, and if you are feeling the pull to provide the reassurance, you definitely should talk to the clinician about this during the first intake appointment. The clinician will discuss with you the best way to approach this conversation.


Adult Diagnostic Intake Evaluation Process 

  • What does the adult intake process look like?
    • Adult intakes typically include 3-4 diagnostic evaluation sessions, with a treatment plan presented by the 4th session. At that point, you can decide if you would like to continue with the treatment plan, have time to think about it, or go elsewhere. 


Fees and Insurance 

  • How much will the diagnostic intake evaluation cost?
    • Fees for diagnostic intake evaluation will vary based on the clinician whom you see for your appointments. Scheduling is primarily determined by availability. We offer different-leveled clinicians to make treatment more accessible. You can review the Clinical Procedures and Outpatient Treatment for Adult Outpatient Services or Child Outpatient Services by scrolling down to “What We Treat” and selecting the condition you are seeking treatment for. When you click on a condition, you will see an explanation of the condition and an outline of how treatment sessions may be laid out for that specific condition. 

      If you have a preference for a certain level of clinician, please let the intake coordinator know when you call to schedule your appointments; you will be scheduled for the earliest time at which a clinician of your specified level is available. However, we don’t encourage waiting! Anxiety disorders are actually very treatable and respond extremely well to treatment. We know this based on the scientific research on mental health treatment. This is very encouraging news! On the flip side, we also know that anxiety disorders get worse over time if untreated or undertreated. The take-home message here is: Don’t wait. All our clinicians are qualified in delivering evidence-based treatments for anxiety.   .


  • Do you take insurance for intake appointments?
    • We have a dedicated FAQs page for insurance-related questions– click here to be redirected.


  • Do you have a sliding scale for intake appointments?
    • We do not have a sliding scale; however, we provide you support if you choose to seek reimbursement from your insurance company. Please see our Insurance FAQs for more information.


Ready to book an intake? Have more questions? 

Contact us!