Episode 3: Consultation Groups – A Second Opinion

SimplePractice Community Leader Allison Puryear, LCSW explores five ways to overcome loneliness in our first ever Audio Series. Her advice will not only make you a stronger practitioner, but will also help build your business and increase your client load! Take a few minutes out of your day to listen to Episode 3, which covers the importance of having a consultation group, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.


Welcome back, SimplePractice people. This is Allison Puryear from Abundance Practice Building. In this episode, we’re going to talk about consultation groups as a way to beat back the loneliness while building your practice.

Consultation groups are obviously awesome for improving our clinical skills, right? So, I want us to first acknowledge that that is their purpose: it’s not to build your business, but it’s likely that that’s going to kind of happen in the mix anyway. It’s also going to be really great to be able to have some time with other clinicians and talk about clinical issues. It’s really good for helping relieve some of that anxiety, relieve some of that imposter syndrome that flares up with us.

There are a few things I want us to consider with this. You can do it in a way that’s diagnosis or presenting-concern specific, so it might make sense for me, as an eating disorder clinician, to have an eating disorder based consultation group, and that way we can kind of dig into the finer points of this work. You can do that with diagnosis, you can do that with modality, you can also do it with a location specific. Maybe all the people that you like and respect who are on the few blocks around your office … if you’re in a city, you can reach out to folks who you know, like, and trust, that you’d want to consult with, whose advice you would appreciate.

quote about choosing good therapists for your consultation group

You can do it online. I have a consultation group that doesn’t meet very often, but two people I used to work in an agency with and were scattered in the winds across the Southeast, and I really like being able to consult with them. One of them is an eating disorder therapist as well. While the three of us have different clients that we’re seeing, we also have the opportunity to add some fresh ideas because there’s been instances where the sex therapist among us is so used to the work that she does that sometimes the other therapists and I can add something that might be, from the client’s perspective, something she’s missing, and vice versa. She’s been able to do that with us as eating disorder clinicians as well.

I want you to, first and foremost, if you’re starting a consultation group, make sure that you’re only reaching out to clinicians that you trust and respect. There’s nothing that tanks a consultation group quite like having somebody that is either super-negative all the time, which isn’t going to be helpful, or somebody whose work you just don’t respect. Let’s not invite them. Not to be elitist or anything, but we want to make sure that your consultation group is elevating your practice, not dragging it down.

Now, this is going to build your business because whether it’s presenting-concern specific or demographically specific, or just a bunch of random, great clinicians that you know, you’re going to get to know how the other people work. You’re going to build your own trust factor amongst one another, and so you’re going to have the opportunity to be very thoughtful and creative and appreciative of one another’s work. So, if somebody calls you with a concern that you don’t typically treat, or that you know that your colleague will treat really beautifully, then you have the opportunity to refer out and vice versa.

It’s a great way to dig into your own clinical skills. It’s a great way to build your clinical skills as well as beat back the loneliness, as well as build your business. I hope that’s helpful. Again, this is Allison Puryear from Abundance Practice Building, and next, we’re going to talk about supervision.

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