My colleague has just presented this difficult case in our peer supervision meeting. We have been meeting for about three months every other Friday morning. Four therapists, each in private practice around the Herndon/Reston area meet to share experiences, get consultation about clients and share business ideas. I am also in another supervision group that has been meeting for about six years. These groups provide an invaluable source of support and information for therapists. We can feel quite isolated in our own offices, often seeing client after client every hour throughout the day without a break to share ideas, express concerns or ask questions of our colleagues.
“His mom died when he was in 6th grade. His sibling is now in college and he is in high school and experimenting with drugs and has poor grades. The dad works long hours and my client spends a lot of time at home unsupervised making poor choices. He is very private and wants me to keep his confidences. He isn’t in imminent danger, but I don’t know how much to share with his dad while also maintaining his confidentiality. What do you guys suggest?”
I shared this with my group and received many suggestions and helpful advice. My group members were able to ask relevant questions and challenge me on my work with my client; they offered a fresh look at the case, a new perspective that sometimes I can’t see because I am too close to the situation.
We are also developing wonderful friendships. Amidst the sharing of difficult cases and recognizing the pain that our clients experience, we break the tension with a lot of laughs. We also share our personal struggles and parenting challenges as they are all intertwined within our daily lives, our clients’ struggles and living and working as therapists, parents and women.
I am so grateful to have found my supervision groups. They provide an anchor for me as I do this difficult and emotional work. I have found myself calling my colleagues before a particularly challenging therapy session to ask for advice. I love that our support extends beyond the parameter of our Friday mornings.
Disclaimer: Each of the cases presented are fictional. They are compilations of my cases, cases I’ve heard in supervision, or my own imagination. This is to protect the confidentiality of my clients and those of my colleagues. Anything that may resemble a real person or family is simply a coincidence.