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Can You See Two Therapists At Once? Understanding Coordination of Care

Announcement

Can I see two psychiatrists at the same time? Many people ask this question, but before you go out and work with several mental health professionals, it’s essential to understand what seeing two specialists simultaneously means, the potential benefits, and the challenges. No matter what you choose, it’s vital that you coordinate your care with anyone involved in treatment to ensure optimal mental health outcomes.

Introduction

Many people seeking professional treatment ask questions like “Can I see two psychiatrists at the same time” or “Can you see two therapists at once?” If therapy can be helpful, some individuals want to try lots of therapy in order to make progress. Others want to try different types of therapy at the same time to see which one they like most.

There are several reasons why individuals might consider seeing multiple mental health professionals. After all, having several doctors for your physical health is not uncommon. But can you have two psychiatrists, and is it really a good idea?

psychotherapist with a clipboard

Why do people consider multiple therapists?

There are several reasons to consider seeing multiple therapists.

Can I see two psychiatrists at the same time for different treatments?

Some people want to try different therapy modalities. For example, one of the most common treatments for anxiety and depression is cognitive behavioral therapy, but someone might want to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, individual psychotherapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy at the same time.

Diverse needs that specialists may better address

If you have diverse needs, like a personality disorder and depression or PTSD and anxiety, these issues might be better addressed by specialists in their respective fields. In that case, working with two psychiatrists could give you the help you need for each condition separately.

Different therapy modalities

Several mental health conditions can be treated with various therapies and modalities. When you consider working with multiple therapists, you can use different therapy modalities simultaneously.

online session of psychotherapy

Combining medication management (from a psychiatrist) with talk therapy

Several mental health conditions may require medication. Psychiatrists can offer medication management services to monitor your medications, their effectiveness, any side effects, and how well they control symptoms.

Concurrently you can work with a therapist for talk therapy. Specialists in their field can provide these two services and offer complementary treatment options. In fact, studies indicate that using medication to treat mental health conditions is more successful if combined with talk therapy.

Can you see two therapists at once?

Yes, you can see two therapists at once. There are several benefits to doing so.

Getting multiple perspectives

The most significant benefit of seeing two therapists at once is the opportunity to receive multiple perspectives. Having several perspectives can give you even more information compared to just one, and it might open you up to certain strategies or coping skills that the other therapist doesn’t use. In many cases, the information learned from several resources can be complementary.

Addressing different aspects of one’s mental health

Can you have two psychiatrists? Absolutely especially if you are trying to address different aspects of your mental health. As mentioned, individuals might be struggling with co-occurring disorders and want several treatment modalities such as individual and group therapy, family therapy acceptance and commitment therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR.

Potential challenges of having two therapists

If you choose to see more than one therapist at the same time, there are some potential challenges you have to be prepared to tackle.

Conflicting advice or strategies

If you are asking, “Can I have two psychiatrists,” you need to be prepared for potential conflict of strategy or advice. This is especially true if you are combining different treatment modalities by way of separate therapists or psychiatrists.

Should you run into a situation where you see more than one therapist and they provide you with conflicting advice or strategies, don’t be afraid to communicate with both of them, letting them know what other information you have received and providing contact information. Just as a neurology specialist needs to be in contact with your primary care physician, so do multiple therapists or psychiatrists if you have them.

Overlapping appointments or therapy burnout

For those people who want to know, “Can I see two psychiatrists at the same time,” be aware that seeing more than one therapist could lead to burnout. Too much of a good thing can be harmful, and that’s true of therapy. Moreover, you might have problems booking several appointments and end up with back-to-back or overlapping situations.

Scenarios where someone might have two psychiatrists

  • Tina struggles with ADHD. She sees an ADHD specialist who prescribes medication to manage her symptoms. She also sees a therapist who helps her develop coping strategies like time management skills, budgeting, and organization.
  • Mark came home from a deployment with severe injuries and PTSD. He sees a trauma specialist to receive trauma-informed care. He sees another professional for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. He also sees a third therapist for his family therapy sessions involving his spouse and three kids.
  • Clary struggles with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She had a long history of being misdiagnosed with depression. She only recently received a formal diagnosis for her co-occurring disorders. She sees one psychiatrist who prescribes medication for her schizophrenia and monitors her progress with psychotherapy. She sees another psychiatrist to help her manage her bipolar disorder, which consists of cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants.

Summing Up

You can see two therapists at the same time, and for many people, this brings benefits in the form of different modalities, addressing multiple needs, and combining things like medication and therapy. No matter what you choose, it’s crucial that you coordinate with all of the professionals who make up your mental health care team so that you can achieve optimal mental health outcomes.

If you are already engaged in therapy, don’t be afraid to communicate with your mental health professionals about your desire to seek multiple modalities or opinions. When you involve several members of your mental health care team, better communication helps ensure that your treatment is tailored to your needs.

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