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What to Expect from Consulting in a Group Setting for Practice Owners

Make yourself a priority, it's necessary

By: Melissa T

What to Expect

So you’re considering joining a group consulting program for practice owners, that’s amazing! It’s a good idea to keep in mind that every group functions a bit differently, so it’s not always easy to tell if a particular group would be a good fit for you. But there are some things to look out for when evaluating your choices

Experienced facilitators expect newcomers to be nervous about attending a new group, (which is to be expected) They should do their best to ease your fears by welcoming you, ensuring you’re in the right group and letting you know ahead of time what to expect

Peer consultation groups provide forum for practitioners to meet informally with peers and colleagues to discuss clinical and practice issues in a supportive and confidential setting

Having a career as a mental health professional can be highly rewarding, but it’s not always free of its challenges, that’s why a peer consultation group can be highly beneficial to support you through these challenges

In this blog we’ll go through some things you can expect from a consulting group

Education and Skill Building

During your first session, you can expect to introduce yourself to the group and let them know the things you have learned since becoming a therapist, what you might be struggling with, what thoughts you have, ideas and maybe some advice

In group consultations, there sometimes is a guest speaker or one of us presents a topic each session to share knowledge and opinions

Your skills as a counselor can grow so much just by participating in these conversations, you have the opportunity to learn from your peers


Private practitioners might want to get together to create partnerships, either working together in the same premises or sharing referrals. It’s possible to maintain independence as a practitioner while working alongside others

Without networking or reaching out in some way, you may not have another way of knowing your peers well enough to consult with someone

In this profession, networking not only helps you build a list of professionals to refer to and get referrals from but it also allows you to have a list of people you know have skills or knowledge to support you in specific areas

Relief from Isolation

Being a therapist can be a very isolating job, you often go days or weeks without contact or peers who can relate to what you might be experiencing and you end up bottling up what you’re feeling

As therapists we often hear our clients speaking about their own experiences of loneliness and isolation. Is is important that as practitioners we are open to understanding our own experience in this respect as it relates to our professional as well as our personal lives and are willing to make sure our needs are not neglected

Being able to regularly meet with peers in the same industry can give you that sense of relief from isolation that you’ve been seeking

Feel free to comment on your own experience of professional loneliness or of ways you have tried finding support and connections during your sessions

Sense of Support

Even with a solid training in place and personal therapy, there are still likely to be needs unmet for the private practitioner and not taking these seriously can contribute to difficulties managing a practice and potentially lead to illness and/or burnout

For some therapists when they’re feeling this way, would reach out to a friend or family member to help the feelings pass, but it’s important to surround yourself with people who are in the exact same boat as you

Group consultations are here to help you get to the underlying cause. Your peers will listen to you and take interest in your feelings and help you begin to explore coping mechanisms and help you identify behaviors that many practitioners develop that might be making your mental health worse


Meetings will occur at a regular time, day, and frequency; There will be an agenda and topic idea for each meeting. Expectations of members and the group leader are clear; group structure is reviewed on a regular and consistent basis (for instance, each year there is discussion of what works and doesn't in the group, potential changes, etc..)

Facilitators have a great way of pulling together common themes within the group to inspire the most productive and inspiring conversations

Rules and expectations are important to help everyone feel safe and comfortable in the group. It’s common for groups to enforce a time limit of 1-2 minutes per participant to prevent anyone monopolizing the conversation. Support groups often have a “pass rule” if someone doesn’t feel comfortable sharing quite yet

Safety in the Group

Rules are clear on who can attend, depending on the group, it can be limited to a specific gender, adults over 18, therapists dealing with a specific challenge or therapists who have specific clientele so there are peers in the same mental health industry as you and you will be able to relate on to that specific industry

These groups are intended to be a safe, non judge mental and confidential environment for therapists to discuss, collaborate, and share resources that you may not have considered and offer feedback on how to redirect difficult situations. One of your group members may have experienced a similar situation and be able to offer tailored guidance

Peer group members can also help you to recognize when it might be time to refer a client to someone else or recognize any potential ethical pitfalls or gray areas

It’s also important to make sure all therapists in your group adhere to confidentiality requirements. Unless you have express permission from your client, you can’t share any details that might help another therapist identify them. This standard must be followed even within a small, private group setting

The Payoff

The payoff for your efforts in putting yourself first and really focusing on yourself compared to therapists working in an agency or other team setting, is that the practitioner themselves holds the responsibility for all aspects of their practice on a day to day basis

There is no manager to complain to or have a quiet word with after a difficult day; no colleagues to let off steam to about frustrations encountered in the work

It’s important to remember that working as a therapist is a demanding and challenging occupation, this is why it is super important to have someone to share these aspects of the experience with when the work feels difficult or overwhelming on a personal level

Join one of our Consultation Groups!

At Growing Your Private Practice Virtually, we are always here to listen and help. We understand that reaching out for help can be scary, but we are available to answer any questions you may have

Speaking of questions, we have some for you!

Please take a moment to fill out our Group Consulting Questionnaire Here, this will help us ensure you are the right fit for the program!

Contact us today and learn more about our services!

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