At the initial therapy appointment, your counselor may ask you to sign a physician collaboration form. This consent allows your therapist to contact your internist, family practitioner or medical specialist to ensure you receive the most consistent, comprehensive care throughout your therapy experience.
A Team Approach
More often than not, clients initially question the need to have their primary care physician involved in their counseling. “Why does my doctor need to know I’m seeking therapy?” clients may wonder. Issues of confidentiality may also arise; I’ve had clients express concern that the information they share in counseling will be automatically communicated to their physician. The therapist should educate and reassure the client that only information pertinent to the client’s physical health will be shared, and even then, only with the client’s knowledge and complete agreement. Perhaps even more importantly, therapists need accurate information about a client’s current and past medications and dosages, illnesses that may affect emotional health (i.e., thyroid disorders, diabetes) and previous or planned medical procedures that may impact a client’s mood or functioning. Creating an effective, individualized treatment plan for each client requires a thorough understanding of the individual’s physical and emotional health. Collaborating with your physician helps ensure that all treating providers are fully informed of how to help support you through the therapy process, providing the best chances of an efficient and effective therapy experience.