Imagine with me…
…You’re an online therapist (okay, that may not have required a lot of imagination, but stay with me).
You wake up on an ordinary Tuesday morning. Ordinary in every way except that the power is out, your router is down, and you have a full schedule of clients today.
Not just any clients…
…online clients, meaning you need internet (*ahem router AND power).
…clients who are relying on you to give them hope and direction as they journey through tough season of life or endeavor to make peace with traumatic circumstances.
Your showing up matters.
It matters to you.
It matters to them.
And it matters to your paycheck.
How are you going to…
…communicate with your clients that you can’t make it to their session?
…let your clients know how important they are to you, but today just isn’t going to work and it is NOT your fault?
…reschedule all of those appointments?
Let me guess, this is the kind of moment you would step down the hall and ask a coworker how they handled this situation…
But you’re not an in-office therapist with coworkers down the hall.
You’re an online therapist, who does meaningful work from her home.
And while a coworker would sure be nice right now, they’re not right down the hall.
Well, you’re right, they’re not right down the hall, but I can tell you where to find them…
PEER CONSULTATION GROUP
A Peer Consultation Group is a gathering of licensed providers who come together to discuss cases and practice management issues. For the purpose of this post it is NOT supervision. As each member of the group is a licensed professional, it is where providers can come together in a safe and confidential setting to discuss concerns about their practice (This group begins early November).
Here’s five things we recommend looking for when choosing a Peer Consultation Group.
When you’re coming together in a peer environment to contribute to one another’s practices diversity is key. A group a 10 you’s is most likely going to generate a lot of the same questions and answers. But you’re joining the group, not only for the community, but also growth and support.
Look for diversity in these three areas:
I have a friend who is a freelance writer. While she has had incredible success working online and serving online businesses she rarely works with brick-and-mortar businesses because the needs and understanding are so different.
Similarly, providing therapy online is different than providing therapy in an office. If you’re looking for support and I-get-what-you’re-going-through community you need a peer group of online practitioners.
FREQUENCY OF MEETING
There’s two questions you want to consider here:
- What can my schedule handle?
Showing up for a peer consultation group means you have a place to feel understood and ask questions, but it also means you’re showing up to provide that same space and confidence to the other members.
Is there room in your schedule and personal capacity for a monthly ninety minute call…two monthly one-hour calls?
- What kind of support do I need?
If you feel stranded and lost when it comes to the business side of your practice you might want weekly support to remind you that you’re not alone and to have a safe place to ask all your business questions.
If you have a full client load you might want to meet monthly…get support, contribute to others’ practices, ask that off-the-wall question that threw you for a loop last week!
KNOW THE PURPOSE OF THE GROUP (aka. How is the group run?)
Some groups are focused on the facilitators expertise which gives the group a more educational feel where you are learning and being mentored.
Other groups have a facilitator who inquires of the members and guides the discussions in a way that directly meets the needs and answers the questions of the members present.
AMOUNT OF TIME AND SIZE
If the purpose of a peer consultation group is to provide a safe place to discuss challenges and concerns you need to know who you’re talking to.
You need to get to know each other enough to feel safe so that you can feel free to be vulnerable and open up and ask for help with a case or issue.
Carol O-Saben, who has successfully facilitated peer consultation groups (this one to be exact) recommends a group of about 10 people.
“A group of this size,” she says, “allows monthly one-hours call to be both constructive and productive while providing enough time for members to get to know each other.”
All that to say, you don’t have to be an online therapist who wakes up on an ordinary Tuesday morning with the power off, the router down, and no one to ask “What do I do?”.
Instead, find a Peer Consultation Group that…
…is diverse with experience, expertise, and training.
…made up of online practitioners.
…meets at a frequency that supports your needs.
…is conducted in a manner that benefits you.
…and is big enough to provide varied feedback, but small enough that you can get to know the other members.
If a peer consultation group sounds like something you’re ready to find ASAP we just opened enrollment for our Peer Consultation Group that will start monthly meetings early November.
Save your seat here (pst, we’re already 50% full, because so many of last sessions members are returning!).