A second opinion
"Can you believe that before calling you I talked to other four psychotherapists, and they all refused to meet me?" asked Anna. A week earlier she had called and asked to consult with me regarding her psychotherapy. She told me that she had started therapy a year earlier, and that she felt that she was having second thoughts about it. She wanted to understand what had really happened during that year. She was satisfied with her therapist and wanted to continue with her, but she had read Jeffrey Masson's book, Against Therapy, and was surprised to read how easily therapists could abuse their clients. She decided to consult another therapist. "They all told me that they could not meet with me as long as I was still working with my current therapist, since it was against their ethical code. They also warned me that this could damage my therapy. So are you deviating from the ethical code now?" she laughed.
"It might surprise you," I said, "but I agree with them. Meeting two therapists at the same time may harm the trust between you and your therapist, which is essential for the process."
"Really," she was surprised, "so why are you meeting me now?"
"Because I am not going become your therapist," I said, "and because I am not going to discuss your therapist with you or judge her. I think that if therapists have the right to supervision concerning their work, clients should have the same right. If you have any difficulty with your therapist, supervision can help you decide if you want to continue therapy. If the therapy is beneficial for you, consultation may strengthen your trust with your therapist, which is beneficial for the therapeutic process."
"So why don't other therapists know about this?" she asked.
"Because until now nobody has thought about it. I believe that some therapists may feel threatened by such an option, especially other therapists' criticism. I can understand that."
"Do you mean that professional organizations defend their members by denying clients information?" she continued.
"Yes," I replied, and immediately regretted it. Most therapists are loyal to their clients and are concerned about their welfare. However, the lack of information available to the public is often due to psychotherapists' isolation.
(An excerpt from Dror Green, Psychotherapy: A consumer's guide)
Supervising clients while they are working with another therapist focuses on the therapeutic process and clients' perceptions, not on the therapist. Such a consultation is similar to the supervision therapists receive concerning their work, and it enables clients to better understand the therapeutic process.
Clients can seek supervisiion when their relationship with their therapist has come to a dead end, or when they consider terminating therapy. It is no less important to receive supervision when the therapy is beneficial. Such a consultation might promote the process and even improve the therapeutic relationship. You can share your decision to consult another therapist with your current therapist.
In the same way that people ask for a second opinion before choosing the right medical practitioiner or treatment, you can seek consultation or supervision regarding psychotherapy. psychom gives you the opportunity to consult with me in order to better understand your therapy and cope with questions you cannot ask your therapist.