An initial assessment is typically 60-90 minutes and may include the provider speaking individually with parents/caregivers, individually with your child/adolescent, and/or a combined interview. The intent is to gather information about the problem and pertinent history, do an assessment for safety, and develop preliminary treatment plans. This is also an opportunity for your provider to get to know you and your family, and for you to get to know her or him.
A provisional diagnosis may be discussed with you at the initial intake. However, the process of assessment is often ongoing, and particularly with young people may occur over one or more sessions. "Diagnosis" is simply looking at the presenting problem, and "naming" it, which is valuable in developing a positive plan of action.
Oftentimes the initial assessment may focus primarily on what's bringing you to the department, though our providers are also interested in learning about strengths and skills your child and family possess which will help you make progress towards your goals.