I listen carefully while the patient describes his circumstances and predicament. I pay close attention not only to the problem itself but also to the manner by which he presents the problem to me.
I expose to him how I understand his problem, and compose a small initial confrontation and deliver it to him. This will provide a presentation to the patient typical of my style of therapy, in order to expose to him the kind of treatment he can expect to receive if he embarks on the therapy process with me. His reaction to this presentation will also provide further important information.
Next, I disclose some relevant information about my personal past and professional experience, helping him form a view of my ethos.
If the effect of the above steps is positive, I can establish the therapeutic arena with the patient and schedule our first face-face meeting.
My professional ethical standpoint makes this initial procedure essential. I believe in transparency, meaning that the patient must be completely aware of the type of therapy which he can expect to receive. I do not provide a service similar to a traditional psychologist and I always make this clear before the first therapeutic session. I do not believe the patient should pay or invest time in a therapy session before he understands completely the style of care and significance of the process he is about to embark on.
This step is part of the trust-building process and is intended to exhibit my sincere intentions to provide help and solutions.