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Is There a Problem with Seeing Two Different Therapists at the Same Time for Work on Two Different Concerns?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I recently received intake paperwork to fill out from a psychotherapist recommended to me, and one of the conditions I would need to agree to before seeing her would be to stop seeing any other therapist I might be working with.

Is it standard, or at least common, for a therapist to require a new patient to formally end any treatment with another therapist before beginning therapy? Or is this unusual?

I can come up with a few good guesses as to why this makes sense — maybe it has to do with insurance rules, or maybe it’s to prevent two therapists from (unintentionally) undermining each other’s effectiveness.

However, if a person has two distinct concerns to work through, is it ever reasonable for them to see two different therapists at the same time?

Sincere thanks for any answers you might have about this.

Is There a Problem with Seeing Two Different Therapists at the Same Time for Work on Two Different Concerns?

Answered by on -

A.

That stipulation is fairly standard but the answer depends upon why you are in psychotherapy. There may be occasions when seeing two therapists makes sense. For example, you might consult a cognitive therapist for depression and a behavioral therapist for a highly specific problem like smoking cessation or a phobia. For that to work, both therapists would need to be aware of each other and agree with the arrangement.

Alternatively, it would be odd if you sought help from two therapists and kept it a secret. Most therapists would not be okay with that scenario.

Since you did not reveal the nature of the two problems, it’s difficult to answer your question. Generally speaking, it’s not the norm to see two different therapists. Doing so without their knowledge would be dishonest. Therapeutic relationships, just like any other relationship, should be based on trust. Without trust, the relationship will be fractured.

If you’d like to write back and provide more information, I could provide a more specific answer to your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Is There a Problem with Seeing Two Different Therapists at the Same Time for Work on Two Different Concerns?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Is There a Problem with Seeing Two Different Therapists at the Same Time for Work on Two Different Concerns?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/05/18/is-there-a-problem-with-seeing-two-different-therapists-at-the-same-time-for-work-on-two-different-concerns/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.