As clinicians, we often join a consultation group to feel more connected in an isolating profession and to gain clarity about our work with clients. The structure of consultation is often focused on getting/giving advice about our work. Similarly, many of us are drawn into this profession for a deeper sense of connection to ourselves and clarity around understanding others. Most of our profession, through our training and consultation, however, becomes focused on fixing others and maintaining enough distance from our selves to be helpful.
What is Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapy?
As we feel less connected to ourselves and our clients, we tend to burnout and feel exhausted in our work. In Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapy (RFPT), there is the intentional movement towards connection with yourself, and learning to grow a deeper curiosity about what’s going on with you as you sit with your clients, and where it might be related to things going on with the client as well. RFPT teaches you to tap into your greatest clinical asset – your presence. Our avoidance of this connection to ourselves and to our clients is what frequently exhausts us in this work and leads to burnout.
In Relationally-Focused Psychodynamic Therapy (RFPT), there is the intentional movement towards connection with yourself, and learning to grow a deeper curiosity about what’s going on with you as you sit with your clients.
How does this work in an RFPT consultation group?
In an RFPT consultation group, the invitation from all of the consulting clinicians is an unending curiosity about your own emotional responses to the client/therapist being presented, and whether you present one of your cases or not, the work is equally dynamic and inviting of your emotional presence. The consult space becomes a context to create a deeper imagination for our clinical work.
RFPT enables you to utilize the depth of this connection to move further into your work together, and the RFPT consultation process models and practices this depth of connection with your fellow consultants. The RFPT consultation model is a fundamentally experiential learning process, so learning happens as we work the process together, learning to both listen intently to the client and yourself, and both metabolize and articulate this in a way that is useful for your clinical work.
The consultation group is a 10-month commitment to the same group, 2 times/month, and given the structure of the consultation, it tends to move quickly into a deep connection with your peers in the process. Regardless of your therapeutic orientation, the process is intended to provide a place of connection and authenticity with colleagues in a field that regularly burns us out from isolation and disconnection.