Why Should Private Practice Therapists Seek Individual Consultation?
By Kristen Dammer
Maybe you finally completed licensure requirements and are thinking, now what? How will I feel supported without supervision? Or maybe you’re a seasoned therapist that feels stuck with some clients? Or maybe you just want some validation that you are providing good therapy to your clients? Wherever you are in your therapist career, individual clinical consultation could be helpful.
Here are 3 reasons to seek individual consultation.
Remember that important concept called Countertransference?
Countertransference is an unknown and unintended transference when therapists allow their past experiences and feelings to influence their clients’ care. Understanding countertransference is useful information not only to understand the internal world of the client and the therapist but also to how the outside world may experience your client.
Individual consultation with a skilled clinical supervisor allows you a space for honest conversations about emotions and reactions that you may feel when sitting with your clients. Individual consultation helps to understand the jointly created phenomenon of countertransference and how you can develop strategies to use transference in sessions.
The outside perspective of another experienced supervisor can help you to identify places with your clients where countertransference might be occurring. Glen O. Gabbard’s article called, “The Role of Countertransference in Contemporary Psychiatric Treatment,” he says, “Individual consultation can provide a space for therapists to work through the issue of transference”.
Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Individual Consultation can help with Imposter Syndrome by providing you support, so you can build your confidence. Feelings of doubt as a therapist on your own virtual island can creep in without support. Especially for private practice therapists who so often work mostly alone, Imposter Syndrome can impact your personal well-being as well as impact your clients’ progress in treatment.
We all have those clients where we feel stuck from time to time. Individual clinical consultation can provide opportunities to learn new techniques and get other perspectives. You can share all those places of success that go “unnoticed” behind closed doors.
You can benefit from individual consultation by having an entire hour, just to yourself. This time can be used for case consultations, as well as providing you valuable information, and most likely confirmation, that you are on the right track. Individual consultation can give you new suggestions or strengthen modalities you already use to help you feel confident in your work as a therapist.
Support Therapist Self-Care
Individual clinical consultation can be part of your self-care. It is well-known that therapists often focus on the well-being of their clients and neglect their own self-care. Clinical consultation provides a space for therapists to focus on their own well-being and develop strategies for managing stress and avoiding burnout.
Even if you are a seasoned therapist and might not have specific questions about client care, individual consultation is a place to experience that support therapists skillfully give but reluctantly accept.
Therapists benefit from individual consultation by developing a supervisory relationship with a clinical supervisor that is specifically for discussing your life as a therapist. Sometimes there is a bit of crossover from “therapy” to consultation, as this is bound to happen with open conversations. In these cases, your individual supervisor will encourage you to continue the deeper work with your own therapist. Yet you can use the information to help you feel supported, humanizing the experience of providing therapy.
Listed above are just three reasons why you should seek individual consultation. Firelight Supervision offers online individual clinical consultation with a variety of seasoned therapists/supervisors that can help you feel comfortable and supported in your therapist journey.
Private practice therapists just like you spend so much time behind screens or closed doors. Often you do not have supportive spaces to share your experiences, receive validation, and feel supported in whatever joint transference situation that arises. Individual consultation builds that space to meet your many needs as a therapist.
Kristen Dammer is a clinical supervisor, therapist, and blogger with Firelight Supervision and Catalyss Counseling. Kristen specializes in trauma, ADHD, and perinatal counseling with adults and is trained in EMDR. Kristen enjoys providing clinical supervision and consultation to beginning to advanced clinicians in private practice, hospital, and agency settings.