5 Reasons to Seek Out Online Clinical Consultation
By Chris Campassi
Are you a private practice clinician who has been feeling isolated, experiencing compassion fatigue, or feeling burnt out? Are you noticing that it is more difficult to work through an impasse with clients, and just need to talk through the case and get feedback from an experienced clinical supervisor? Or maybe you recently transitioned from an agency setting where you had a team of clinicians to offer insights and support, and now you are missing that sense of community.
At Firelight Supervision, we offer a virtual community with experienced Approved Clinical Supervisors that can offer you the support you need, individually or in a group setting, and all online, so you do not need to leave your office!
Isolation in Private Practice
While the idea of being your own boss and managing your own schedule is incredibly appealing and a common draw to be in private practice, you may not have realized how isolating it can be, especially if you are a sole practitioner. You may at times find yourself unsure of who to turn to when you are having trouble with a client, or feeling stuck. You may hesitate to reach out to old colleagues, think to yourself, “I chose to do this, therefore I have to learn how to cope with this.”
It is a very common occurrence for therapists who have transitioned from an agency or community setting into private practice to feel detached and withdrawn at times. Simply put, private practice can be lonely.
The majority of your human interaction is with the clients you serve, and our friends and loved ones often cannot relate to the emotional impact this can have on you. To sustain a successful career in this field, you need support from fellow clinicians, who can relate, hold space for you and provide the support you need. A strong clinical supervisor, or consultant, can provide this for you.
If you are a 100% or mostly virtual therapist who doesn’t see clients in-person, you might have to work a little bit harder than in-person therapists to combat the isolation you feel. Luckily, online clinical consultation is a great option for you to connect with a clinical supervisor or group of therapists to help you feel less isolated.
Compassion Fatigue in Private Practice
One of the major hazards of being so isolated in a private practice is that you may have difficulty monitoring your emotional well-being, and you can begin to develop small and gradual signs of compassion fatigue. You may struggle to identify this, even as you begin to normalize these feelings.
The work you do requires you to take on a lot of vicarious trauma. You absorb the feelings that each of your clients discharge when working with you, and that energy has to go somewhere. You are where it goes, and where it will stay until you can appropriately discharge it yourself.
Having a strong self-care plan is critical to the well-being of any therapist, and a clinical supervisor or consultant can offer support, objective feedback and the accountability you need to prioritize your well-being. We can support you to be the therapist you want to be. Because Firelight Supervision offers online clinical consultation, you are not limited to getting support for your compassion fatigue and burnout by someone who is local.
Burnout Prevention in Private Practice
Having a clinical supervisor or consultant as a part of your typical self-care routine can help prevent burnout. Oftentimes therapists reach out for consultation when your compassion fatigue is spilling over into burnout. You may be trying to “push through” like many of us do.
While I certainly encourage anyone to reach out immediately for clinical consultation when feeling this way, it is preferable to have this resource in place before you get to that point. You are human, and once you are burnt out, your ability to problem solve and access your resources is more challenging, as you are working from a trauma response rather than your best self.
Developing a long-term and sustainable relationship with a clinical supervisor or consultant that you trust brings another trusted ally into your life. This supportive supervisor is someone who will get to know you as a therapist and person, and will be committed to your well-being.
At Firelight Supervision, we offer compassionate and clinically skilled clinical supervisors and clinical consultants that can help you monitor your self-care and any signs of burnout. We help you mobilize all of your resources to take care of yourself, so that you can sustain a long and successful career, with the convenience of online availability.
Clinical Skill Development in Private Practice
Do you want to enhance your current skill set, but need a mentor figure to help you navigate this process? Or maybe you are learning a new modality, and need a clinical supervisor or consultant versed in this modality to master the skill?
I hear a lot of therapists who refer out clients whose needs are not “within my scope”. I often reply that this is appropriate, and at times necessary. But I also encourage them to consider what development they would need to gain that scope of expertise. I often remind them that before graduate school, nothing was within their scope, but through knowledge, practice and good supervision, they were able to gain a scope of expertise in many modalities.
If you are wanting to challenge yourself to gain experience working with clients that fall outside of your scope, or you want to master a new modality, clinical consultation can provide you the support, critical feedback and mentoring you need. And if you’re not able to find a clinical supervisor who specializes in what you’re looking to learn in your community, online clinical consultation is a great alternative.
Community in Private Practice
Here at Firelight Supervision, we are building a space of community and support for YOU! We offer virtual consultation groups as well as individual consultation. We have several Approved Clinical Supervisors that you can choose from, or you can work with several different supervisors. You have the option of either rotating supervisors to meet your current needs, or by seeing one individually and one in a consultation group. Our clinical supervisors are all unique in their style and modalities, so you can find someone that you can connect with and can meet your clinical needs.
And the best part is, everything is virtual, so no need to leave your office and disrupt your own client schedule. You can get the support you need from the comfort of your own office, or home!
How we can help
Chris Campassi is an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) and Program Coordinator of Firelight Supervision. He is a licensed psychotherapist in Colorado and North Carolina, blogger, and clinical supervisor for provisionally-licensed and independently licensed therapists. Chris enjoys helping men, medical professionals, and former athletes manage their anxiety and stress so they can live fulfilled and balanced lives. Follow Firelight Supervision on Instagram and Facebook.