.Let’s talk intake forms! What are some things to consider when creating a trauma aware intake form?
Practitioners often want to gather as much information as possible on their intake forms so that they can establish a treatment plan and figure out what may be going on for a client/patient.
One of the issues with intake forms is that they don’t always feel like an invitation and some of the questions can bring up a lot of emotions and bodily sensations without the safety of someone to process them with.
Some of these questions can feel like too much, too soon, without established trust and safety in the relationship with a new practitioner. Yet, because of the hierarchies that do exist in our society, clients/patients often feel like they have to answer questions even when they don’t feel ready to.
It can be useful to start every intake form with a disclaimer that not all questions need to be answered, that clients/patients can take their time with the intake and bring it home if they need to, and even explaining the reason you are asking for this info can be helpful and clarifying.
Sometimes there is certain information that you need right away, but much of it can wait until the client feels ready to disclose it to you organically. On the other hand, it’s also nice to let clients know that you are aware of how past trauma may effect their experience of treatment. For a survivor, realizing that a practitioner is aware of the challenges the may be dealing with, without even having to disclose, can be very powerful.
It can also be a fun and interesting exercise to fill out your own intake form and see what comes up! Does it feel too long, too invasive, uninviting or just right.
Has anyone tried this?
These are simple strategies that can start you and your patient/client off on the right foot and put both of you in physical and mental states that are more receptive to healing and change