Baseline Clinical Questionnaires: A Starting Point for Your First Session With New Clients

Friday, September 22 2023

The first session with a new client can feel daunting. Knowing where to begin is not always clear — for clients and providers alike.

With SonderMind, you get access to innovative tools to better understand how your clients are progressing on their mental health journey. One of these tools, clinical questionnaires, allows  your clients to improve their communication with you. 

As part of our intake process, we send baseline clinical questionnaires to clients before their first session.  These assessments help clients self-reflect before their first therapy session with you. They also provide context of their mental state prior to care, giving you both a clear picture of where to begin your work together.

How baseline clinical questionnaires work 

The baseline clinical questionnaires include three measures: 

GAD-7: the GAD-7 stands for ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder.’ It is used to assess symptom categories associated with stress or anxiety. The survey asks your client to reflect on the last two weeks and take note of how often they’ve felt bothered, nervous, anxious, worried, or restless, among other symptoms of anxiety.

PHQ-9: the PHQ-9 stands for ‘Patient Health Questionnaire.’ It helps screen for symptoms of depression. The survey asks questions about your client’s function and mood.

Functional: The functional assessment, sent to clients every two weeks, looks at how clients perceive their day-to-day functioning, and more specifically, how they perceive their improvement — or decline — in treatment. 

Once completed, your client’s responses will show up in your provider portal in the same way other questionnaire data does. 

Are clients required to complete the baseline clinical questionnaires?

No; however, we strongly recommended completion so that you receive more insights into their needs in care. Clinical questionnaires are an essential part of feedback-informed care

If a client doesn’t fill out their clinical questionnaires prior to our session, can they do them during the session?

Yes. Simply ask the client to visit their SonderMind dashboard, where they will see the baseline clinical questionnaires to fill out. Once they complete the assessments, you should see them in your portal within a couple of minutes.

An intake assessment and treatment plan is required to submit a claim. SonderMind providers  can use the results from the baseline clinical questionnaires to help complete documentation. If you’re a SonderMind provider, there are downloadable templates for intake assessment and treatment plans available for your use that meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements.

If a client doesn’t fill out the baseline clinical questionnaires, can I resend them?

You can’t resend the questionnaire as it is sent to the client before their first visit. You can, however, collect the same data by manually sending a PHQ-9, GAD-7, and functional questionnaire to your client from the client's clinical profile in your portal. 

Get access to more resources

SonderMind’s evidence-based approach to care gives you the additional tools you need to provide the best possible support to even more people in need. When you join SonderMind, you have access to free tools (like clinical questionnaires), plus free or discounted CEs, case consultation, and an exclusive online forum for SonderMind therapists. See all continuing education and training opportunities available to SonderMind providers here

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