What It’s Like to Make an Appointment with Me

The Contact that Offers Hope

You either call or email. I hope you call. Better yet, I hope the two of you call at the same time. If I cannot answer, leave a message. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

You’ll quickly hear me ask two questions: “May I ask what city you live in and how you found me? It’s for my records.” I usually don’t even ask your name until we’re well into the call.

The call usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. I’ll ask, “Do you have 20 to 30 minutes? Is now a good time to talk?” Sometimes it’s not, so I offer to call back at a mutually agreed time.

Why 20 to 30 minutes? Within in that timeframe, I can get a sense of what’s going on for the two of you and lets me know if I might be a good fit for you. If I ‘m not a good fit, I recommend others who may be able to help.

When I get the impression I can help, I ask if I can share how I work.

The Online Portal

For those who want a first session, I send them and their partner separate emails from my portal. Each email has a link and unique four-digit temporary pin.

Inside your Portal Profile, you’ll read and acknowledge my intake documents, plus fill out several forms.

My Portal shows you my availability and you can schedule yourself, if desired. It also has a pretty cool feature where you and I can Secure Message each other.

Making the First Appointment

If I feel I can help you during our first call, I’ll ask you if you want to set up the first appointment.

When yes, I say, “Great! I look forward to meeting you! When you think about Monday through Thursday from 9am to 5pm (my last appointment start time), what time might work for you?”

We set up the appointment, and I’ll ask for email addresses, phone numbers, and name spelling.

I then make a couple of quick entries in my Online Portal which triggers the portal email(s) with Subject Line: Welcome from The Carpenter’s Hope Counseling Center, PLLC.

When You Use the Email Link to Log into the Portal

The Portal lets me know you’ve logged into your profile. As you read through and acknowledge documents, your profile moves documents from Shared (meaning the doc was shared with you, to Stored. Stored means you have acknowledged the document.

By the way, acknowledging a document in your Portal Profile does not mean you read it. It just means you said you read it. ????

You’ll also fill out some forms concerning your basic information, emergency contact information, and credit/debit card info.

Forty-eight hours before our time together, you’ll both receive an email and or a text reminder about our meeting. You may turn those notifications off, if desired.

Arriving in the Office Parking Lot

You’ll pull into what may feel like a confusing set of buildings.

Each building has a similar layout of suites. Buildings have a Suite A, B, and C. It’s easy to go to Suite B in the wrong building. ????

Look for my building number: 4700. I’m in Suite B with other tenants.

Arriving in My Waiting Room

When you enter the short hall leading to the “B” Suites, you’ll see the hand-painted sign pointing to the restrooms at the end of the hall. You may hear the soft music playing as you arrive outside my waiting room.

When you enter, you may hear a doorbell chime. The doorbell lets us know you’ve arrived.

You’ll experience soft lighting offered by lamps, no fluorescent lights. There’s a welcome coffee service with a wide selection of teas and coffee. Find the water underneath!

Benefits of a Relaxing Space

There’s a sofa, but most people sit in the two comfortable chairs next to the door and coffee. Books fill two bookshelves and some certificates are on the wall.

Some clients come early just to “be” there. They begin to relax and discard some of the stress of life.

A sign on the opposite door says, “Welcome, have some coffee or water. We’re glad you’re here. We heard you enter (there is a door bell).” If at ten minutes past your appointment time no one has greeted you, SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG. Please knock on this door.

Thankfully, since changing the sign to read this way, no one has had to knock. ????

Moving into the Session

After a few minutes, you may hear a different doorbell. That’s probably me walking my last client out through a different door. It’s also a signal I’ll be with you in a moment. My clients have the privilege of additional privacy as they enter through one room and exit by another.

The opposite door of the waiting room opens. I enter slowly with a broad confident smile on my face.

I’m truly glad to see you.

I can help you.

Sitting for the First Session

Two of you come in and sit as you prefer. There are two soft chairs and a love seat for two. I sit in my rolling, ergonomic office chair about 4-feet away and in front of you. I never sit behind a desk with you on the other side. I’m always with you in session.

You are not alone.

Using one of the Intake Documents you read beforehand, I discuss key elements of the Informed Consent. I don’t read it to you. I use it as an outline. You both have a copy in your hands, so you can follow along.

After your questions are answered and about 20 minutes later, you’ll both sign the form, and we’ll get started. But first…

A Bit More About Me

I ask if I can take a few minutes to share how it made sense for me when I was 59 to go to grad school and earn a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy while my wife was about to retire? She retired in 2014, and I could be retired too.

People usually smile when I ask. I think their smiles reveal they understand that it wouldn’t make much sense to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars and 2 ½ years of my life getting a degree, so I could have the chance to save marriages.

My story takes me about five to seven minutes to share. Mine is a sad and difficult journey with the death of a marriage, an adult child’s death, and the eventual death of my first wife. It’s me revealing my part in the destruction.

It is also me, saying at the end… the reason I share is to try and lock in two beliefs about me:

  1. I do not sit on some high and lofty hill looking down on anyone. No matter what comes into my office. I’m a fellow sojourner. I do not judge you or anyone else.
  2. THERE IS HOPE. There is a different way to be in relationships. I know the map and can help the two of you become the heroes in your own journey. No promises. I’m not God. And I can help you.

From that place, I’ll take my pad of paper and smile. I’ll ask something like,…

So, what’s going on for you today?”

I don’t care who begins first. I know how to help the conversation get going and how to help both of you be heard.

Maybe you’ll be heard for the first time in a long time. What would it be like for you to finally be heard?

Couples are in pain. All who enter my office are in pain. Of course, they are or they wouldn’t come in. Why would they?

Time & Logistics

The first couple’s session is always 110 minutes (2-Hours). That gives us 30-Minutes to cover the Informed Consent then about 80-Minutes for the two of you to begin helping me understand your pain.

I Offer Real Help to Real People.

We specialize in helping highly distressed couples.

Call today, (501) 263-1576. Why wait any longer? Let’s end this misery.