Generally, after having contacted your insurance company and having scheduled a first appointment, the so-called “initial interview” takes place, in which I would ask you to talk as freely and openly as possible about your problems and areas of concern. If you have a german statutory insurance you don't have to contact your insurer beforehand.
This first session is important for both sides: you as a patient have the possibility to check out if you feel “in the right place” and whether “the chemistry is right” (research has shown that an authentic and primarily positive "chemistry" between patient and therapist (regardless of therapeutic method) is a determining factor in the success of psychotherapy).
I, on the other hand, would use this first consultation to collect “diagnostic material”, e.g. asking questions about your symptoms, your present life, etc. to get a general clinical overview and to decide whether psychotherapy is indicated. If so, up to four trial-sessions (so called probatory sessions) would follow, in which I try to gain more clarity concerning your difficulties and personality with the aim of finding the best possible therapeutic approach for you. At the end of these first sessions I would give you feedback regarding the indication of psychotherapy and if my therapeutic approach might be a good fit.
The next step would be applying for psychotherapy at your health insurance, in the course of which a somatic clarification by your MD is necessary to exclude an organic cause of your concerns. After approval we schedule regular meetings, normally one 50-minute-session per week. The frequency can temporarily be increased to up to two sessions per week.
As a self-paying patient you can start with regular sessions right away if we both come to the conclusion that I am the right person to help you.