This dilemma provided a quandary for a lot of people – two choices gained a near-equal amount of votes.
You have been working with a client who is struggling with a number of issues around decision making, relationships, and anxiety about letting people down. You notice that they occasionally get a little bit confused, saying that they have told you about people and events (normally based on money) that they haven’t mentioned before.
During a session they speak about their other therapist – you know that they have had therapy in the past and you assume that they are talking about them. However, it becomes clear as the session ends that they are seeing another therapist at the same time as working with you. You explore this a little further, in the limited time available with them, and find out that they are accessing the other counselling via a free service at a local charity designed to help clients in financial difficulties and that they started using this service a week after starting work with you.
You book in another session for the following week.
What do you do?
At the next session explain that it is not a good idea for them to see two therapists at the same time and advise them to not work with the other therapist as it is confusing your sessions.
Advise your client that you can no longer work with them as it feels unethical to take money from them if they are having financial difficulties whilst they have access to a free service.
Reach out to the charity and see if there is way to collaborate to provide a support network for your shared client.
Wait for the next session and recontract to work with them about specific topics only.
The strongest overall opinion was that we would need to address, with the client, that working with two therapists at the same time was not ideal.
More than a few people got in touch with us at email@example.com to say that they would have wanted an extra option of discussing with the client different options for moving forward.