Should Therapists Join a Peer Consult Group?

Should Therapists Join a Peer Consult Group?

Do you feel alone as a telehealth provider? Are you facing challenges that you don’t have answers to? Have you wished for someone who could listen to you and understand your world?

This is exactly why peer consult groups were created — to create a support system for therapists where they can get their questions answered, feel understood, and continue to develop their skills. Dr. Bruce Wampold is attributed with saying that it is important for therapists to have a support system because their work is often lonely: 

“In the United States and many other countries once you are licensed or certified, supervision and consultation is no longer required. … [Therefore] providing psychotherapy is a lonely pursuit—therapists need support and encouragement of colleagues.” – Attributed to Dr. Bruce Wampold here, original source unknown.

The work you do is important and changes lives. It shouldn’t be stopped by you having an inadequate support system!

If you’re considering joining a peer consult group but wondering if it’s worth the cost today’s post is for you. We are covering the value of a safe place to discuss clients challenges, find emotional support, and develop your skills as a professional. 

If you want to know what a peer consult group is, read this post!

A Safe Space to Discuss Client Challenges

Have you ever run into a challenge with a client that you didn’t know how to handle? What about a technical issue, problem with insurance or glitch on the backend of your practice?

Those are the sort of things that are discussed in a peer consult group. Of course you have to follow general guidelines of confidentiality, but because you’re talking to a group of other providers, they understand and can offer empathetic advice without you having to spill every detail. 

When you’re considering joining a peer consult group, we highly recommend looking for diversity. This will allow you to get a bigger bang for your buck and learn from more people.

Look for diversity in these three areas: 

  1. Experience
  2. Training
  3. Expertise

In other words, don’t join a group of therapists who all have the same specialization as you. Look for a variety of age, training, and experience. When you meet with your group, show up with the confidence that you have something to contribute, and the humility that you have something to learn!

Our peer consult group is known for its diversity of experience, training, and expertise. You can sign up here!

A Empathetic and Emotional Support

You spend your days reminding people that they are not alone and giving them the tools to make it through their challenges. Who does that for you?

This is exactly why therapists join peer consult groups. Whether you’re seeing clients in-person or via a video call your job is challenging and it’s hard to understand the intricate burdens you carry. While you are a therapist, you’re also a human — a human who wants to be understood. Nicole put our human need for being understood so well:

“We just want to feel understood. We want to be able to talk about our feelings and not have someone look at us like we’re crazy, like they have no idea how the things we’re feeling really feel, like they couldn’t even imagine. We just want to belong. We want to be able to retreat somewhere we feel comfortable, somewhere we feel welcome with no judgement, somewhere that feels just as good as home.” – Nicole Tarkoff, Thought Catalog

Peer consult groups are a unique place of no-judgement that can feel almost as good as home, because all the members understand what you’re going through. So, if you feel like quitting, join a peer consult group first. There are people in the world who understand what you’re going through and have answers to the questions you’re wrestling with. 

A Place to Continue Developing Your Skills

Most professionals continue to develop their craft with a supervisor, mentor or coach. Athletes train with coaches, business owners join masterminds, and lawyers work under senior lawyers. But once a therapist is licensed and certified, who do they work with to develop their skills? 

As a therapist no one offers your pointers for the way you’re doing things or suggests resources to help you improve. It’s you against the world, unless you join a peer consult group. A peer consult group doesn’t just allow you to process working with challenging clients and find understanding, it also gives you a place to ask questions, learn new strategies, and discuss new research.

When looking for a group it’s important that you know what you’re looking for. Some peer consult groups are focused on the facilitators’ expertise. This 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 of present members. 

If you’re looking for a group where there’s more conversation between members and less teaching from the host, we think you’ll like our group! It’s led by Dr. Carol O’Saben and Carol Pulley. You can sign up for our Peer Consultation Group HERE. Membership is free, forever, for iTherapy Providers!

Why You Should Join a Peer Consult Group Today…

You already know this, but isolation is one of the reasons most people give up, whether it’s on their life, relationships, or career. Preventive care is much more effective than rehabilitation and it keeps you in the game longer. Peer consult groups are one of the best preventive measures against burnout and discouragement for therapists! So, do yourself a favor and join a peer consult group sooner rather than later (even if it’s not ours).

October 22, 2020 / iTherapy Blog, Mental Health

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