The Intake Process: What it Looks Like & What to Expect

What is an “intake appointment?” If you have ever called Genesis Women’s Shelter or another counseling agency to request services, you may have heard that you need an intake appointment. Put simply, an intake is therapist lingo meaning an initial appointment to gather basic information about you and your background while you learn more about the services available to you. If you call the Genesis Outreach office to request counseling services, you will be scheduled for the next available counseling intake appointment, which is the first step to receive counseling.

It is important to arrive for your intake appointment about 10-15 minutes early so you have adequate time to read over important information and fill out some brief paperwork. In the lobby, you will see smiling front office staff, cute fish friends to keep you company and a comfortable place to sit and fill out your paperwork. Our lobby is meant to be a safe space for clients only; we do not allow any partners to sit in the lobby. (A photo of our lobby is shown above.)

During the intake appointment, you will meet with one of our counselors for approximately an hour. Your intake counselor will discuss the following information:

  1. Explanation of Genesis’ Services: Your counselor will provide you with information about Genesis services (all of which are provided for free), counselor qualifications, expectations for attendance and communication, your right to confidentiality, and your privileges as a client.
  2. Referral List and Important Phone Numbers: You will receive a list of helpful phone numbers, including the Genesis 24-hour hotline, national hotlines for domestic violence and crisis lines, and other local agencies and resources such as Dallas Police Department, Child Protective Services, Legal Aid, and Catholic Charities.
  3. Domestic Violence Education: We believe it is important that all clients receive basic information about domestic violence during their first intake appointment because this information has the potential to increase safety and knowledge. Our counselors will explain the different types of abuse, how violence escalates and the cycle of violence.
  4. Safety Planning: Safety is our number one priority at Genesis. Your counselor will discuss any safety concerns you might have and help you plan to increase your level of safety.
  5. Next Phases of Counseling: The counselor will explain the next steps for continued counseling at Genesis after the intake. Our counselors are trained in a variety of evidence-based treatment models, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). We provide both group and individual counseling.

After the counselor provides this information, it’s your turn to do the talking. We will want to know about your background and experiences so that we know how to best help you in your journey to healing. The counselor will ask you about your basic demographic background, interactions with the police, a brief medical and mental health history, history of abuse, symptoms of trauma that you may be experiencing, and strengths and protective factors. It can feel overwhelming to open up with intense details about past trauma, and we want you to feel emotionally safe to leave our office. Because of this, you will only be asked to share basic information during the intake appointment.

We recognize that it takes a lot of courage to come in for the first intake appointment, to ask for help and to start talking about difficult subjects that you may not feel comfortable discussing with anyone else. We are here to support you when you decide you are ready to come for your intake appointment. To schedule an intake appointment, give us a call at 214.389.7700.

Written by Victoria O Connor, women’s and children’s therapist at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support

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