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In the past, mental health providers were taught to seek clinical consultation opportunities only if they had issues providing effective treatment to a particular individual. Today, ongoing participation in clinical consultation is a common standard of practice in the mental health field.
Many professionals find that joining a peer consultation group is helpful. Benefits of professional consultation groups may include:
In consultation groups, there is typically more peer-to-peer interaction than during clinical supervision. Rather than working exclusively with a supervisor, you interact with your colleagues in a less formal setting. You are not required to follow the advice you receive, and you retain the legal responsibility for any suggestions you employ in your practice.
The professional code of conduct and ethical guidelines established by the American Psychological Association ensures that no information is disclosed in a peer consultation group which may lead to the identification of a person in therapy.
There are a variety of factors to consider when looking for a peer consultation group to meet your unique needs. For example, peer consultation groups may be influenced by the clinical experience and theoretical orientation of members, the size of the group, the content discussed, the structure of the group, and how often the group meets. Additionally, some peer consultation groups meet in person, while others may meet online or via phone.