Is It Good To Use the Same Mental Health Therapy Provider As Someone You Know?

Many people these days, during the pandemic especially, are suffering from stress, exhaustion, loneliness, anxiety and sadness. It’s understandable. Everyone struggles with something. Everyone is going through something hard!

Many choose to turn to a therapist for support. Sometimes, they ask around and find out who their friends or family members see. Maybe their friend tells them the name of a super therapist. This seems like a fine idea at first, but is it?

When two friends or family members see the same therapist, it is not a good idea for many reasons. It becomes especially problematic when the relationships are adversarial (like an ex). It creates a weird triangle.

Trust

The therapeutic relationship requires a whole lot of trust. Like any doctor-patient or therapist-client relationship in any field, trust is crucial. Psychologists and therapists are not treating broken limbs, though. They are dealing with the brain, the most complicated and complex organ of all. They are dealing with vulnerable clients who open up to them with very private details of their lives. The weird triangle can make people more vulnerable.

We are dealing with broken hearts and traumatized brains. Some people have a harder time with trust, like those who are going through relational issues. Or, those who have suffered abuse.

Confidentiality

Therapists and psychologists are bound by confidentiality ethics (HIPAA). Confidentiality is key, but aren’t there other important ethical factors to consider? Are there factors that therapists overlook?

So often, therapists assume that the only issue is confidentiality. Total privacy is not the only factor that makes a therapeutic alliance great!

Neutrality and Loyalty

The therapeutic relationship is a sacred one. Like trust and confidentiality, neutrality and loyalty are paramount. Without these, it is not possible to have a good alliance and grow in therapy. It will be hard to talk about relationship issues about the friend, family member or ex-spouse who is also seeing your therapist.

The therapist can develop subconscious bias, even if he or she does not try. Feelings of disloyalty are bound to arise in certain cases. Even if a therapist does have the superhuman ability to remain neutral, the client might not view it that way. This interferes with the alliance.

Here is an example. You leave your therapy session having just vented about your traumatic experiences and trust issues with your ex. Shockingly, you bump into your ex in the parking lot when he or she is on the way to see your therapist!

Given that you were your therapist’s well-established client first, how would you feel? Stress with your ex, betrayal trauma from his or her cheating, and financial secrets were the reasons you were going to therapy in the first place.

Would this destroy your trust? Your view of your therapist’s neutrality? Your sense of your therapist’s loyalty to you? For many, this could be very damaging.

I have come across many cases like these

In rural communities, there is sometimes no getting around seeing the same therapist or counselor. This is because the population is so small that there are not enough to choose from. Consequently, your therapist could be your mother’s therapist too. You know this from the get-go.

In large towns and cities, this is usually avoidable.

Are there many therapists to choose from in your area? You might want to pick one that your friend, family member or ex is not seeing. You might want to be clear with your therapist about who you would not like them to see (like your ex or a previous abuser).

As coaches and therapists, we must be extra sensitive to these dynamics. If we aren’t, we could add to our client’s trauma. We are dealing with brains, not broken ankles. We don’t just treat the person who walks through the door. Our current clients come first. Many therapists already have rules against this.

We must give these issues more thought and care. There is high potential to cause the client harm if we don’t.

Check out my previous article HERE on this topic.

I hope this blesses you and your clients.

Thank you for reading! Please share!

Comfort and Encouragement

Hi friends…

Have you ever gone through something so peculiar and wondered, “Now what the heck was the point of that?” or “What good could possibly come of it?” Has it left you desperate for a word of comfort or encouragement?

I have found myself in this thought process in the past where situations didn’t make sense and all seemed like a giant heap of ashes. We all go through this. Situations can end up feeling like a giant wasteland.

Sometimes, we get to see the point of it all. Other times, we just don’t. It can feel frustrating because we don’t see the big picture.

One time, I felt that a situation was so horrible that nothing good could ever come out of it. Looking back, I see how the sad situation actually kickstarted an endeavor – a goal – which I ended up completing. I don’t believe I would have accomplished my goal had I not gone through the hardship. In the end, other people were helped and comforted. Also, I was strengthened, and I appreciate my new insights going forward.

There can be sweet that comes out of the bitter (sort of like turning life’s sour lemons into lemonade).

Take a look at this beautiful inspirational message from Mildred Page* who shares the following encouragement and wisdom:

“There are some scriptures that are so familiar that we tend to almost hurry by them and forget the benefit and grace they are meant to bring to our lives. Romans 8:28 is one of those verses. It says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Who doesn’t go through something in life that for all appearances doesn’t show any possibility of producing good in our lives? The world is full of circumstances that feel as if after the heat of the trial, all that could remain are ashes devoid of hope.

Let this verse in Romans, and God’s love comfort your heart and bring a peace of mind that no matter what you have gone through or are facing now, God promises that His love will actively work in it and weave his story in your life that will be for your good and bring glory to Him. He will be faithful to work in all things, and that leaves nothing untouched by His sovereign, loving hand.

Be strengthened with comfort and encouragement as you journey through difficult, seemingly impossible times that while God works in it for your good, He will be right by your side, helping and strengthening you, and holding you up.

Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'”

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:3

 “People seldom see themselves changing. It’s like going out in the morning or in the springtime to pick flowers. You pick and you wander ‘til suddenly you find that the light is gone and the flowers are withered in your hand.” – Zora Neale Hurston

*Special thanks to Mildred Page @mildred_page on Instagram; Shared with author’s permission (please do not copy).

%d bloggers like this: