Dr. Daniel welcomes practitioners’ questions about the process of clinical case consultation. There are several questions that often are asked by practitioners inquiring about the overall clinical case consultation process. Frequently asked questions (faq) are presented below.
To see Dr. Daniel’s responses click on the question.
Why should I be interested in clinical case consultation when I already consult with colleagues, and/or attend continuing education and workshops?
Remaining curious, and consistently aiming to hone skills and add to one’s information (e.g., psychological, experiential, behavioral, academic) is the essence of a practitioner’s mental health work. As importantly, the practitioner’s having a safe, interactive venue with a trusted and objective professional adds a dimension to the process of learning and practice that is invaluable. Every clinical situation is distinctive - both for the practitioner and the client - with each clinical intervention offering opportunities as well as challenges.
Meeting with a consultant who contributes objectivity, insight and clinical experience adds to the practitioner’s knowledge not only about the client and effective treatment techniques, but, as importantly, also about the self. For example, the practitioner is supported in heightening his or her awareness of clinical circumstances that might be experienced by the practitioner as triggering. Or, in discussing a case with the consultant, the practitioner may become increasingly aware of “compassion fatigue” – subsequently realizing the feelings of weariness and unspoken diminishment of confidence that possibly are emerging outside of the practitioner’s awareness. Practitioners can well benefit from the focused objective support that clinical consultation provides in a consultation venue that is experienced as safe and collaborative.
Dr. Daniel provides a strengths-based perspective for the practitioner in the consultation process and also focuses on practitioner and client resilience capacity, and maximization of practitioner and client abilities. Dr. Daniel’s therapeutic perspectives include post-doctoral training in clinical application of: attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, trauma theory, intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy and affective experiential dynamic psychotherapy.
Mental health professionals with a variety of training experiences use this type of professional collaboration. For example, licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, school psychologists, licensed professional counselors, certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors, marital and family therapists, pastoral counselors, psychiatrists and nurse psychotherapists use clinical case consultation as an avenue of professional growth and development as well as clinical expertise.
You understand that additional perspectives from a consultant relationship can be beneficial to you as a practitioner and to your practice, and yet you find yourself postponing engaging in clinical case consultation.
While there is no singular reason one postpones seeking clinical case consultation, the practitioner may want to explore his or her feelings of self-consciousness, fear, or shame, as well as concern about professional inadequacies and vulnerabilities being highlighted in the consultation. In reality, however, clinical case consultation actually supports a practitioner’s heightened awareness of skills as well as any uncertainties——and this type of further insight can be very valuable in the treatment setting. The practitioner’s conscious awareness of competencies and skills as well as vulnerabilities, can contribute a more informed level of practitioner confidence in practitioner-client interaction and relationship.
What is the difference between “clinical consultation” and “clinical supervision” in the mental health field?
“Clinical case consultation” refers to the consultation process between the licensed clinical case consultant to the licensed practitioner. The consultant’s input regarding the practitioner’s cases, as well as information for the practitioner’s professional growth and development, are the purposes of clinical case consultation. In the clinical case consultation setting there is no clinical or administrative responsibility for the work of the practitioner, and no obligation for the practitioner to comply with consultant recommendations.
The term “clinical supervision” refers to the supervisor’s instruction and evaluation of an unlicensed supervisee. To become licensed, the supervisee is required to experience face-to-face clinical experience, as well as clinical supervision. Clinical supervisors are legally responsible for the actions of their supervisee. A licensed supervisor “lends” his or her license to the supervisee, meaning the legal and ethical responsibility for client care is the responsibility of the supervisor.
Self-care for mental health practitioners is often a focus in professional journals and training programs.
One of the goals of clinical case consultation is the consultant’s being mindful regarding the needs, skills, and strengths of the practitioner, as well as of the client being treated. In addition to being aware of the practitioner’s responses to the client regarding, for example, client primary family concerns, trauma, anxiety, and resilience, the consultant’s support of the practitioner in relating to the client as one adult to another –- without unwittingly maintaining an overly-responsible stance -– can contribute importantly to the practitioner’s balance and self-care in his or her therapeutic communication.
Also, clinical case collaboration can support the practitioner in realizing that clinical responsibilities can possibly lead to feeling alone and disempowered -- especially when working singly and without sustained professional relationships. As mentioned above, the self-care that is essential in the mental health field is based on a balanced awareness of one’s style and vulnerabilities and, just as importantly, one’s successes in the work. In summary, clinical case consultation promotes the opportunity for developing and maintaining equanimity and balance within the clinical treatment focus.
Can clinical case consultation be a safeguard against potential emotional isolation of the practitioner?
Yes. Self-care as well as client care are two essentials about which the practitioner must be aware. The practitioner not only adds to his or her perspectives regarding additional techniques and dimensions of the client-practitioner relationship, but also has the professional experience of collaborating systematically and in relationship with a consultant who is committed to the practitioner’s wellbeing. This type of clinical case consultation with a professional who understands not only self-care, but also strengths-based, effective dynamic therapy techniques, can then be transmitted by the practitioner to clinical work with the client.