Better Together: Why Even Seasoned Therapists Need Peer Consultation and Supervision

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Therapy is a complex process. We delve into another person’s world, fifty minutes at a time, and hope like heck that we are doing it right. Sure, we have scientifically backed protocols that we can follow, but there is still a LOT of room for human “stuff” to get in the way. That’s why Western North Carolina based psychologist, Dr. Hayley Bauman advocates for therapists to regularly seek supervision and consultation for their therapy cases.

In her practice, Dr. Bauman has every client sign a waiver at the beginning of therapy, allowing her to seek supervision. The waiver is written as follows:

“Psychologists have an obligation to respect the confidentiality of information obtained

from their clients. Information is released to others only with written consent of the

person or their legal representative. However, good psychologists continue to obtain

professional supervision past licensure. At some point, it may be necessary or beneficial

to discuss this case with other professionals in order to provide the highest standard

of care. I agree that my case may be discussed in supervision to ensure that I receive the

highest quality care, as long as my name or identifying information is not revealed. I may

revoke this consent in writing at any time, otherwise it shall remain in effect.”

Dr. Bauman believes that making this agreement from the very beginning:

  1. Helps clients see that their cases are very important to her.
  2. Models the necessity of continued learning – (If my therapist is still learning, then it’s okay for me to be learning too).
  3. Levels the playing field between client and therapist (Instead of expert vs. patient, it’s human being to human being).

In addition to helping the therapeutic relationship, seeking peer supervision and consultation has also been linked to solving many of the problems that therapists find themselves facing on a daily basis. Issues like:

Feeling Isolated:

Besides, possibly, being an astronaut, doing therapy is one of the most isolated professions out there. Not only are we alone with our clients, but we aren’t even allowed to tell anyone about it afterward! Keeping all of this information to ourselves can wreak havoc on our own emotions, making it extremely important for us to find a safe, and sanctioned, outlet.

Feeling Stuck:

Working with a client for an extended period of time can limit our ability to see the situation clearly. Although we strive to remain neutral, we are only human, and sometimes it’s necessary to get a fresh set of eyes on the court. Having an outside opinion is also helpful in the event that we are having any kind of counter-transference issues.

Needing Information:

Although we often joke that therapists have to be experts at EVERYTHING, there are some things that we just don’t know. Having access to other professionals with varying knowledge bases can be a wonderfully welcome addition to doing our own research.

Here at Therapy Hive, we believe that peer consultation and supervision is one of the keys to a successful therapy practice. Contact us, if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you and your practice thrive!

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