Do you ever feel isolated? Would you like to have more support in your life? What is the solution?
After going into private practice I began to feel isolated. I missed the support of a team of professionals I considered my peers. The solution was to form a peer consultation group. My wish was to join eight other therapists so we could learn from each other, talk about our practices and offer support to one another.
The questions I considered before seeking people out for the group were 1) How to reach out to people, 2) Who can join 3) When to meet, 4) How long to meet and 5) How often to meet. Also, I realized this was not going to be an overnight task. Hence, I gave myself about three or four months to have the group come together and several more months for us to feel comfortable together.
When groups form they go through developmental stages of growth.
- Forming ~ Good manners stage
- Storming ~ Testing the waters
- Norming ~ Established rules including the unspoken one
- Performing ~ Down to business
- Adjourning ~ The group dissolves
I found people who were interested in a group at networking events, a list-serve , a meetup and colleagues I know. I decided on a date to start and the location being my office. We meet once a month for two hours. Since we have been meeting the group has been hosted by other members. A variety of topics are discussed and we are getting to know each other. An added benefit is if I need to give a client a referral, I know the people in the group well enough I am confident in their skills to be referring people to them.
The message I want to share with you is this, “You can create connections in your life to meet your needs. You have choices. There are solutions.”
If you are feeling like you don’t belong, and are alone and really want to connect to others we can work together to figure out the possibilities of what might be a good fit.
Related Article: Peer Group Members
(c) 2011 Brenda Bomgardner