Back in the Day . . . .
When I was in graduate school, no one talked about the need for a professional counselor to participate in ongoing consultation post-graduation.
Instead, as I remember, we were taught that ethical therapists seek consultation when they do not know how to proceed with a particular client.
Nothing was said about seeking ongoing regular consultation at all!
The New Standard of Practice
However, times have changed and these days regular clinical consultation is increasingly considered the minimum standard of practice.
Unless you are under clinical supervision (which is different than clinical consultation), every practicing mental health professional should either pay for regular i.e. ongoing individual clinical consultation or be involved in a peer consultation group.
What Consultation Can Look Like
Thankfully, I had access to clinical consultation for most of the two decades that I have been in mental health.
However, what that has looked like has varied considerably. . .
- One on one clinical consultation . . . .
- Agency-required “staffings” . . . .
- Treatment team meetings in a psychiatric hospital . . . .
- Small-group consultations that were spontaneous in format and content . . . .
- Thematically-focused peer consultation groups (where I learned how to apply solution-focused brief therapies and, in another one, clinical hypnosis) . . . .
- And, for the last two years, I have been attending a monthly peer consultation group with 12 other therapists. [Updated 06-12-17]
Peer Consultation for Tamara
A peer consultation group can look and function in a lot of different ways.
My current group is a really interesting mix of backgrounds.
In addition to the varied disciplines that you can deduce from the credentials above, one of us is child-focused, one is addiction-focused, three are heavily trained in energy medicine (and the rest of us are interested and learning as we can), one works with equine therapy, one is heavily trained in Western medicine, and I practice with a dual emphasis on systemic and depth psychology.
Still not sure that you need regular, professional consultation?
In my next post, I’ll talk to you about the benefits of peer consultation groups.