All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 101: Clinical Case Consultation & Community [featuring Jeanene Wolfe]

Show Notes

During our mental health careers, ongoing consultation is incredibly crucial. When you're in private practice, you can feel alone and alienated, like you're working on an island.

In this episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast, Jeanene Wolfe, owner of CollabOasis Clinical Consultation Groups, and I talk about the importance of ongoing case consultation, building your clinical community, and how to ethically refer clients to other providers.

Making sure that you surround yourself with a support system is not only good to help avoid burnout, but it also ensures that you're providing quality therapeutic care to your clients.

Jeanene Wolfe specializes in creating case consultation communities for mental health professionals, making sure that you have the space to staff cases, obtain clinical support, and that you have the space to bounce ideas off each other.

Meet Jeanene:

"I am an online therapist, and solo private practice owner, and have been a social worker for over 30 years. I began my career with a pediatric hospice working with families and facilitating groups, then later transitioning into private practice in 2007. 

Having opened my solo private practice in 2013, I am aware of the complexities of learning to run a small business including marketing, insurance billing, and all of the associated admin tasks, all while working in an office alone.

Although I loved working for myself, I also experienced more imposter syndrome and loneliness than I was prepared for.

As I met other solo therapists, I realized I was not alone in those feelings, so I began to research creating a safe, respectful space for therapists to get clinical, business, and personal support.

While doing this research, I began hearing stories about other clinicians who had awful experiences in consultation groups.

At the same time, there were events happening in our country that led to unbelievable volatility in FB groups for therapists.

It became really clear to me that the culture of my program had to be a foundation based on benevolence, trust, and respect.

In launching the CollabOasis Clinical Consultation Groups in the spring of 2020, I created a unique program that provides a much-needed, small-group experience for therapists to get the safe, professional support they need and deserve.

We have an amazing community of therapists who support each other in refining their clinical skills as well as growing in their work/life balance with confidence and connection to others so they can care for themselves the way they care for their clients.

Facilitating groups in an authentic, collaborative way is my superpower and I love welcoming new members into our community!

Learn how to join the CollabOasis Community here.


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A Thanks to Our Sponsors: The Receptionist for iPad & Heard!

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I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.

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✨ Heard:

I would also like to thank Heard for sponsoring this episode.

Doing your own accounting as a self-employed therapist is stressful. I get it because I've been there. When I first started my private practice, I wasn't sure how much to save for taxes or how quarterly taxes worked. I didn't want to fuck up and get in trouble with the IRS. That's why I'm so glad I found Heard, the financial back office for therapists.

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PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by Jeanene Wolfe. She is an LCSW in Virginia Beach and the owner of CollabOasis Consultation Groups. I think I just butchered that, for sure. 

JEANENE WOLFE: No, no. You did a good job with a made-up word. 

PATRICK CASALE: We're going to be talking about impostor syndrome and from a different perspective today. It seems like the last 10 episodes or so have been impostor syndrome heavy and it's good to get different perspectives. 

Jeanene specializes in consultation groups, and helping therapists stay connected, both clinically, and professionally, and personally. And I think that a lot of those things tie in really well together. So, thanks for coming on and making the time today. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, thanks for having me. 

PATRICK CASALE: So, tell the audience a little bit about what it is that you're doing and why it's become a passion for you because I think that we haven't really talked a lot about consultation and collaboration on this podcast. And I do think it ties in really nicely when we're talking about some of the major themes that we often talk about on here. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, so like many of us, my program was born out of a need that I had when I left a group practice, and I went to solo practice, and then solo online practice. And I was not prepared for how lonely and isolated I was going to feel. And I was not prepared for the, you know, I had been doing this work for quite a while, so the huge impostor syndrome that started creeping in was surprising for me. Those of us who've been doing this for a while expect that there's going to be some impostor syndrome. But it was like rearing its ugly head. And I realized I needed some connection and support. So, I joined a paid consultation program that was just a game changer for me. 

And then, you know, in addition to that, I discovered the world of Facebook therapist groups and thought that was great, which is great for meeting incredible colleagues, but it's not a place for consultation or even support because unfortunately, there's a lot of judging, and shaming, and accusations, and you know, everything is unethical in a Facebook group for therapists.

And so, I really wanted something that I could allow therapists to come together but in a small group format. That's what kind of makes my program unique because I heard a lot of scary stories from people about being in larger consultation groups where they didn't really know the other therapist, and they had people, you know, not treating them kindly. 

And when I was onboarding my very first members, it was actually at the time of George Floyd's murder. And the therapist Facebook groups, as any of us who are in there knows just the volatility was incredible. And so, it was so clear to me when I was onboarding my initial members that benevolence and respect was like the thing. So, when I onboard people, we even talk about how to use language, and how to respectfully disagree, and how to support each other. 

So, you know, that is such a huge need in our area. But the normalization of the impostor syndrome is also so important. You know, it's not uncommon for me to have a newer member who will [PH 00:04:02] sheepishly say, like, "I'm really kind of afraid to admit this, but I'm so far behind on my progress notes." And I'll say, "If anyone else is behind on their progress notes raise their hand." Like, most of the members raise their hand, and then they're like, "Oh, good, good." You know? And then we can talk about, like, how to get caught up and all that kind of stuff.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that normalization of the human experience, and validation, and reinforcement is a way to combat impostor syndrome, for sure. And to do so in a group setting, it's really important to get by and to, so people feel vulnerable enough, safe enough to be honest about what they're experiencing, and then they start seeing, like, the head nodding, or the hand raising, or the kind of reinforcement that they need to know, like, I'm not alone in this, I'm not the only one who struggles with this because I think that's a component of impostor syndrome. When it comes over really intensely, it's kind of convincing you you're the only one that experiences this, and you're incompetent, and you don't know what you're doing, and you're not a good business owner, and you're not a good therapist, or you're not good at anything. And all of a sudden that spiral really intensifies and it becomes really debilitating.

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely, yeah. And, you know, the fear that impostor syndrome creates, but also, there's so many things we don't normalize in our field. There's so many gray areas, and we have to normalize for clinicians that yes, this is a gray area, and you're not going to get a set answer but we're going to come together as a group and discuss the dynamics so you can make the right decision moving forward and even fears… we'll have newer clinicians who will say, "You know, I got into this field because of my own personal experience, and I was recently, so activated in a session with someone discussing their trauma that I'm not sure I can stay in this field." And normalizing that for them. 

And that, you know, maybe you can't stay in the field, but these are some things you can do so that you can stay in the field, if that's what you want to do, and the ways to get support. 

And again, that's not something that we discuss. And even since the pandemic, so many more therapists are telling me that they're having trouble staying regulated during sessions because, you know, we have this mutual trauma that the whole world is experiencing. And we're activated in so many different ways these days. And normalizing that, too. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a great point. So, the ability to normalize things in a small intimate setting comparatively to reaching out for support in a Facebook group of thousands where, unfortunately, on Facebook or any social media platform people are free to say and do what they want to do. And it's not always met with grace and compassion in a profession where would expect that to be the case, considering the fact that I run a Facebook group that has almost 8000 people in it now, it's a lot of fucking work, and [CROSSTALK 00:07:04] all the time. So, it's just one of those situations. 

But, you know, I think the one thing that often gets missed in any small business journey, whether it's therapists or whether it's any entrepreneur, is the need for support, and guidance, and a container. There has to be a place where you can have conversations because otherwise, these things can really start to pile up. And it can not only wreak havoc on your business, but it can wreak havoc on you personally. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely. And the benefits of having… my groups are six to eight therapist, and it's the same therapist. They're closed-ish, that if someone leaves I will fill the spot, but it's a minimum six-month commitment. So, people aren't coming and going all the time. And so you're getting to know the other people and you're getting to be able to, you know, open up and be vulnerable. And that's so important. It's not uncommon. And this is part of what I discuss with onboarding, that's not uncommon, and this just happened recently for a therapist to discuss a case, second therapist gives some input, third therapist says, "I'd like to respectfully disagree because I have a different perspective." And it becomes this whole conversation. No one's offended, no one's storming out, you know? And at the end, I usually try to acknowledge that because I feel like I just want to reinforce that in our field. Like, I so appreciate how respectfully we navigated this difficult topic, and that, you know, our work is subjective, and to be able to hear other people's opinions and perspectives based on their experience. We all grow and learn that way, you know? And it's so important to be able to do that. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that's really well said because it's really challenging to grow in a place where it's an echo chamber. Like, I think we all want echo chambers in a lot of parts of our lives, we're like, "I just want to say something." And want everyone to validate it, and reinforce it, and like agree with it. 

And I totally get how that feels. And, you know, conflict comes up, but to have the healthy disagreement, especially, when we're talking about how to support people I think is really important because there are different perspectives that need to be taken into consideration or different cultures that need to be taken into consideration. There are so many different factors. And when we're working with people, there is no one-size-fits-all all approach. So, you have to be willing to be open-minded in terms of what works and what doesn't, what we've tried, what we haven't. And sometimes it's even as simple as like, "I've been trying this in this scenario, this is the response." 

And then someone else will jump in and say, like, "Oh, I've been there, too, but I did this, and this was really effective." Or, "I did this and it was really ineffective, and I don't recommend you to follow that."

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, absolutely. And my groups are mixed. And you know, a lot of people feel like they want to have a group with everyone that does the same treatment modality or the same theoretical orientation. But by having the mixed groups, I might have a therapist presenting the case from a CBT perspective and a therapist who's psychoanalytic or someone who's using EMDR with more of a trauma lens, they look at the case completely different. It can really open things up in amazing ways. 

And I call that the hive mind and it gives me goosebumps every single time because it's a really great way to grow as a clinician, and also to have exposure to other ways to do our work. And we've had numbers of members that have ended up doing some type of clinical training based on learning how their colleagues were using that work, and they're like, "Wow, that's really effective. I'd like to do that as well."

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that's great because it does open up your eyes. And I think that in grad school you're kind of, you know, depending on your programming and your professors, it may be drilled into your head that there's only one way to do this or this is the [CROSSTALK 00:10:45] evidence-based approach or the most ethical way, and you know, so much of that is just rooted in a culture where a lot of people are not taken into consideration when research is even being done. 

So, I love the approach of saying like, my group practice clinicians are very diverse in how they practice, their culture, how they approach, you know, the clinical world. And first and foremost, we want to support them both professionally and personally. Like, you have to be in a good headspace mentally to do this job. 

And I think it's gotten a lot harder over the last couple of years with COVID, social media, all the violence that happens in our country, all the factors that exist, and it's really challenging to be a therapist right now. It always has been, but I think has been magnified. I mean, the term burnout is thrown around like, it's the most used term in our industry. So, really just trying to figure out ways to protect the longevity of a career of a helping professional where there are a lot of obstacles to have to overcome. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely, yeah. And, you know, the other thing that I see that will trigger impostor syndrome is when someone has a consult. I don't think, I know I wasn't, and I've talked to so many clinicians that will say we weren't taught how to document those consults. Like, I remember times that I'd be like, consulted with colleague, well, if I'm taken to court, or my board is investigating my case, that means nothing. 

And so part of what I do is I teach therapists how to document the case and give them forms to do that because then, you know, it's relatively rare for that to happen to most clinicians, but it does happen. And even if it doesn't, but you're worried about it, knowing that I've got good solid documentation, I'm going to be compared against how my peers would have managed this case, I've just made a document telling you how my peers would have managed this case. You know, I've laid it all out and then I've justified whether I changed my treatment plan or left it the same, you know? 

And that's so important. And again, it's that thing where people are afraid to ask about that because they're afraid that they're the only one who is experiencing that. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and that's a great point. And also, it's, again, harping on the, "I'm the only one who experiences that." When I do group coaching, I like group coaching a lot more than individual coaching because I like normalizing the human experience for people so I can highlight, like, regardless of what part of the country you're in, or practice ownership you're in, I can highlight the fact that you're all experiencing this emotion simultaneously or have at some point. 

And I think the, "I'm the only one mentality" happens because, and then we kind of hyper-focus on that. Like, perfectionism starts to ramp up, you go into expert mode, I've got to research every single thing imaginable before I can put this out there or ask the question. That's not how we learn. 

And learning from other people's experiences, and their feedback, and taking that into consideration is such a crucial part of any profession. But I think we sometimes forget in this profession that we are lifelong learners and that's why continuing education requirements exist. And we often lose sight of that of like, I've gotten to this place, I have this business or this practice, I've got my degree, I've got my full license, I don't need to do any more learning, I don't need to do any more training or education. And that's really not true. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, I agree. But what's been interesting for me to see is I think the, you know, continuing education requirements are really important, but it's become a money-making machine. We now have people offering certification for every single thing. 

And honestly, the clients don't know what those letters mean, they really don't care, they're going to read your website, they're going to hear your voice, they're going to make a decision based on that. But a lot of people are worried that if they don't have this certification then they're not a real therapist or they really can't do this. 

And so to be able to discuss that in the group, you know, to… And let me just say, too, one of the most validating things to do is to give a consult to another clinician and have them say, "Oh, my gosh, thank you so much." Or they come back next week and say, "Wow, I feel so much better about this case." You know? Because you're affirming your own skills.

But it gives you exposure to other modalities and theoretical orientations. And you don't have to spend tons and tons of money like thousands of dollars people are spending to get just one level of certification and there's five levels you have to do, and then you have to pay the people to supervise you when, you know, it's way out of control. 

PATRICK CASALE: Well, it's kind of gatekeeperish too of saying like you [CROSSTALK 00:15:21] outgoing through, you know, trainings one through five and spending $25,000. I mean, I love IFS. My therapist is a level three trained IFS therapist. She's fantastic. It's been life-changing. 

But like, should the ability to financially afford to go through IFS training be prohibitive to a therapist who maybe could use parts work in their integration and really support individuals? So, it's just like, another reason for impostor syndrome to manifest and I say this a lot, and I joke about this, but like, you see this a lot with newer clinicians who are not trained in EMDR. And I use the EMDR because that was like the buzzword, and training, and modality before IFS came along and now I feel like it's IFS. 

But therapists who aren't trained in EMDR saying like, "Why would anyone pay me? Why would anyone come see me if I'm not trained in this modality? If I'm not trained in this intervention?" And it's constantly got to be reminded, like, go back to basics of like rapport building, reflection, empathetic listening. Like, all these basic skills of being a helper have nothing to do with these trainings because when you're in the room with someone, yes, those are helpful, yes, absolutely, those can be life-changing. However, that has to be the foundation. And we so often convince ourselves we're not qualified enough because I haven't been able to afford to do A, B, and C.

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely. And you know, like, I'm an old lady in this field. I went to grad school in the 90s. And back then we were all generalists. And so when you saw clients, you literally sat in a room and whoever came in the door, you figured out how to treat them. And you know, we didn't have the internet, so if that meant going back to textbooks and learning, you know, specific techniques to use with that population, and, you know, recognizing that, yes, getting training is important. But it's also important to recognize the role of the relationship between the therapist and the client. And that that is so very important. And you know, that is sort of the foundation of our work, everything else is built on top of that.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And I have a bunch of good friends that are EMDR therapists who I know are going to be like, "Wait, what are you saying? Like, don't talk shit about EMDR."

But, you know, one thing I realized too, which creates impostor syndrome in a therapeutic practice is like, a bad client interaction, a bad clinical interaction, client is just not a good fit for you, or vice versa. They ghost you. It feels like you're pulling teeth during the session. You can't get information out. It doesn't feel like it's flowing. 

And a lot of times that client may leave and never come back or let you know, "Hey, I'm not coming back, I'm going to seek different options." And that can create that impostor syndrome experience where it's like, "Oh, I'm definitely not a good therapist." Or, "I'm not a good clinician." 

And in reality, like, it just probably wasn't a good fit. And that's okay because, like, again, going back to relationships, I had to learn that when I was starting my practice, probably, about seven years ago, I went through a grad school program that was very CBT heavy, and I'm certainly not a CBT therapist, and I would have clients call me and say, "Do you do CBT?" And be like, "Yeah, I do." And I don't love doing it. I don't enjoy it at all. So, that would show in our work. 

And then they would feel like relationship was just missing. Like, we were not on the same page. And it would feel like right clients were not finding me. And then I would convince myself, "Well, you're not a good therapist." Like, you're not [CROSSTALK 00:19:37] do and you're not going to be successful in private practice, especially, because how could you be if you're having turnover with clients so often?

So, it's really about, like, really figuring out who you are, and what your helping philosophy is, and then showing up really authentically, and being able to absorb, and just have a real client experience instead of trying to force yourself into a mold that maybe doesn't work. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, absolutely. And we also aren't really taught how to assess what to do with that. So, a therapist might come in and they're feeling really insecure about a case. And so we look at, okay, are you the right fit for this person based on your skills? Maybe sometimes we're seeing more and more where therapists are saying, "I'm not working with you if you're racist, you know?" And so, do you need to refer this person out for a variety of reasons? Or is this a growth place for you? Have you bumped up against an insecurity where you need more support, and maybe a little more training in an area where you can continue to grow and evolve? 

And for those who do need to refer out, most of us are terrified that we're going to be charged with client abandonment. We're not taught that if you do it ethically and appropriately, you can refer out any client. And then if you're working with someone who's not your ideal client, all of us are trying to manage our energy these days. 

So, if you have this one client who's exhausting you, then that's negatively impacting all of your other clients. And that client is someone else's ideal client. And not only is that client going to get better care, but that therapist is going to thrive with working with them. 

PATRICK CASALE: Oh, absolutely. I couldn't say it better myself. And that's what I teach people in my coaching programs when we're talking about the importance of niching down and understanding the value of understanding your ideal client. And a lot of therapists will say, "I'm not supposed to have an ideal client. Like, I'm supposed to see everybody." Or like, when you're very much in that generalist mentality, and I know a lot of people when you're coming out of grad school, coming out of an agency job that's what you know. 

But like you just said, I'm just going to use borderline personality disorder as an example because so often it's one of the most stigmatized struggles in the therapist community. So, you'll see 90% of therapists say, "I don't want to work with people who have borderline personality disorder. But I'm going to take this person anyway because I'm supposed to do or I don't know how to refer them out because what about the retaliation or retribution?" What about the thought process, right? Like, if you refer out ethically, like you said, to someone who loves working with personality disorders, or does DBT, and fucking loves it, you are helping that client so much more than feeling like, "I've got to suffer through these sessions until they inevitably terminate with me."

And that's just not doing you any good either because that's impacting part of your day. And you're looking at your schedule and saying, "I don't want to see John today. I fucking hate working with John." But, you know, Jeanene down the street may love working with just [CROSSTALK 00:22:40]-


PATRICK CASALE: And understand the importance, not only for our sake, but especially, for our client's sake, too. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Right, yeah. And that just sort of reminded me of every now and then we'll have the conversation where someone will be like, "This client just really annoys the hell out of me." And so we're like, "Okay, we all have that." It's not something most people feel comfortable discussing. But what do you want to do about it? Are they the right client? And something about them just annoys you, but you want to keep working with them? Or, again, if they're annoying you that much, like you see them on your calendar, and you're like, "Fuck, I don't even want to work today. I want to just like call the shots to myself." Then maybe you do need to refer that client out and say, "Okay, enough is enough, I'm not going to work with this person just because they came in my door."

PATRICK CASALE: Exactly. And that's why networking in your community is so crucial too because finding the ideal landing spot, so many therapists gets so insecure, or so anxious about the even phone consult process of like, "Oh, this doesn't feel like a good fit for me. But I don't know how to say that. So, I'm going to just try to see them anyway." When in reality, all that client wants is to figure out a place where they can be seen, treated with respect, and understood. And if you are like, "Hey, the practice down the street does specialize in A, B, and C, and I know they're taking new clients, I know they take your insurance, here's their contact information." That goes so much further than being like, "Yeah, I'll schedule you, but I don't think this is going to work out."

JEANENE WOLFE: Right, yeah. And I think a lot of that comes from a scarcity mindset that if we refer out clients then people are going to be like, "Oh, she doesn't take half of our clients. Like, she refers out, so no one's going to want to work with me." Instead of recognizing that, if you really, like, what you're teaching with niching, if you really hone in on your right population, you're going to get referrals from colleagues, and better still, you're going to get great word of mouth referrals from your own clients because you're providing fabulous therapy, they are referring their friends to you who may or may not be the right fit. 

And then most of the time, if you've been doing this for a while, you get returning clients. You know, they're like, "I was doing great, and now life happened, and I need to come back in, and you were so helpful last time." You know? And so those are important aspects to look at as well.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And I hate the scarcity versus abundance mindset, like jargon, that's true. And if you're referring out, I like to try to reframe it from a scarcity mindset of more to an abundance mindset of like, you're helping support the other therapists in your community, you're sending them referrals confidently knowing that they're going to take care of these folks and vice versa. 

And that comes back around. And the irrational side, the impostor syndrome side that ramps up is like, "If I refer out though nobody's ever going to call me again." And that's just not fucking true, right? 

When people are going through Psych Today pages, like, it's like and calling the first 20 therapists that they see, that look like someone they could talk to, it has nothing to even do with your skill set or who you specialize in. So, you're doing a client disservice by saying, "Take the extra minute, make the phone call, or email or text back to the client. You know, letting them know, this is not your area of specialty, you don't practice CBT, you don't do A, B, and C, but so and so does and that will come back around. And that means you're supporting the client, most importantly, then yourself, then your community. 

And I think, like you said, if you niche down really well, and you really hone in on your ideal client's characteristics, and struggles, and pain points, you're going to get those calls and they're going to be good referrals. And it's going to be the type of referral where you do look at your calendar and you're like, "Yes, I'm so excited about the work that I get to do because these are my people." 

And I think that's really important in this profession because if we go into bleeding heart syndrome and want to be martyrs, and like, constantly putting everyone else's needs first, you will not last in this career. And if you do, you're going to be burnt out all the time, you're going to be hella crispy, and just like, super irritable, and it's going to show in other parts of your life, and it's going to show up in your clinical work. And that's just not good for anybody. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Right, absolutely. Yeah, it's interesting to look at all the different dynamics that therapists bring to the table. And if you start, like, making comparisons of therapists that are bringing different things to the table, and the way impostor syndrome is showing up, one of the things that I see frequently is that there are so many therapists who are introverted and that's not really recognized in our field. 

And a lot of therapists like myself, I presumed I was an extrovert because I can show up, and I can talk, and I can make conversation, but it comes at a cost. I have to go home, I have to recover. 

And so, I'm not really a true extrovert. But what I see is introverts in our field, not only do they feel like they're the only introvert because they think all the other therapists are extroverts, but they also feel like, you know, if I go into a group setting I'm never going to get a chance to talk. 

And so if you were in a small group setting, especially, if you have a facilitator, then that facilitator, like I'm looking for the person, introverts tend to keep their microphones muted during sessions. When I see somebody unmute their mic, I'm like, "Hey, Sally, I just saw you unmute. Did you have something you wanted to add in here?" Because otherwise, she's not going to be able to jump in, and, you know, give the input that she might have really valuable input, but she just doesn't have the space to do it. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. And that's how I do my group coaching is like I'm very good at, it's probably like my neurodivergence kicking in, but I'm very good at tracking. So, I'll be paying attention to people's facial expressions, and whether they look interested, if they look like they want to talk, but they're not unmuting. And just get everybody engaged when I'm doing that. And that's what's led to doing retreats that are more like small, intimate incubator settings, not being summits and conferences because I'll get lost in that. I'm introverted a lot of people don't know that because I have an audience, but like, I can do big social situations and I also need so much recharge time. 

But you are seeing a lot of therapists who are like, "I'm introverted, so there's no way I can network with my community, there's no way that I can, you know, get my name out there." And it's like, no you're probably in the majority, you're not in the minority by any means. 

And networking even does not mean going into, like 100-person room, and talking, and shaking hands with everybody. It's like, you're going to just meet one person for coffee. And it can just be a really small intimate conversation. And that can go a long way. 

And I think that's how I built my practice so successfully when I started was just recognizing the importance of relationship building, and then realizing like as mental health professionals, and trained master's degree or higher clinicians, we excel at building relationships. So, why are we shying away from it? So, it's just like, being able to give yourself some grace around that and just the recognition like Jeanene said, and I'm saying, you're not alone in any of this stuff. If you're listening, like, you're probably more connected to people than you think you are because I do think most therapists are introverted, I do think most therapists overthink and overanalyze everything they do, I think we are at higher risk to experience more intense impostor syndrome because we're trained to go deeper and be more introspective. So, we're easily more in tune with how we're experiencing things. 

So, just realize, if you're listening, you're not alone. You're not alone in any of this. And I think that being able to normalize it is really, really helpful.

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, and therapists set the bar so high for themselves. You know, we think that if we are not going into a session at 100%, we are doing a disservice to our client, or we're giving really bad therapy. But even, you know, if you are a skilled trained therapist, and we have so many amazing colleagues that are, we are all going to have that day where for some reason you're just a little off, showing up at 80% you're still going to provide really great therapy. 

And you know, it only takes one episode of feeling like beating yourself up after a session and the next time the client comes back, and they're like, "That session last time was amazing."

PATRICK CASALE: Right, "I took away all of these things that you said." And you're like, "What the fuck did I even say?"

JEANENE WOLFE: Exactly [CROSSTALK 00:31:06]-

PATRICK CASALE: And true and I think there's high expectation-


PATRICK CASALE: …and perfectionistic and that is all a recipe for impostor syndrome, is all of [CROSSTALK 31:15:00]-

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely.

PATRICK CASALE: It's never good enough. And that's why as a therapist I try to say like all the time, you're allowed to be a human. I see therapists all the time, like, "I have strep throat or COVID. Should I tell my clients that I'm sick? I feel like I should see them today." 

And I'm like, "You should tell them that you're sick and you should model healthy human behavior. It's going to reflect better that way for the relationship." Because then the client, that power dynamic shifts a little bit, they start to view you as a human being and vice versa. And then the walls come down too. 

So, it's like, just be a human being, you're allowed to be sick, you're allowed to have off days, you're allowed to struggle, and it's okay. Just being transparent about when you need some support. 

So, I think that this is a really good conversation, and one that should definitely be continued. And it's great that you're offering this service. And I think that for anybody listening, you know, having connection and having something to help normalize your own experience, not only as a human, but as a therapist, in a profession where we don't get to talk about what we've done for the day very often, it's really important to have something like Jeanene's program, or some sort of group consultation, so that you have the ability to just take some of that burden off of your shoulders, so you don't have to feel like you're doing this alone. 

JEANENE WOLFE: Absolutely. And, you know, there are plenty of ways, I actually do a training on how to create your own consultation group. I want people to get it. There's advantages to having a paid program like mine for people that, you know, well, I won't even go into all the benefits, you can imagine the benefits. But the bottom line is we need to be getting consultation. We feel like after we've spent a ton of money on our supervision, and now we're licensed, we're good to go. 

But it solves so many problems. And it makes you such a better clinician that we just need to really encourage our colleagues, get some consultation, maybe you can do it once a month, maybe every two months. Maybe you can do it twice a month, whatever the frequency is that works for you at least get it some of the time.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I agree 100%. Very well said. Well, that's a good segue into just telling everyone where they can find your consultation group and what you're offering.

JEANENE WOLFE: Okay, so, my program, as Patrick pointed out earlier, the made-up word is hard to say and that's a whole other story. It's called CollabOasis. It's a collaboration of therapists in a safe space, so you can find that me at

I'm also going to be launching a podcast called Colleague Down the Hall, where I bring together groups of therapists, where I present fictionalized cases, and we discuss them so that we can remind people of the benefits of consultation, and also see how people can respectfully disagree and how, you know, a perspective can go full circle, and then the therapist is able to decide which of those perspectives works best from the way I work in my client. And so, that's something really exciting that I have coming up soon.

PATRICK CASALE: Very, very cool. And we will have all of that information in the show notes so that you can easily access Jeanene's offerings and find out more about what she's doing for the community. Thanks for coming on today and making the time.

JEANENE WOLFE: Yeah, thanks so much, Patrick. I love having these conversations.

PATRICK CASALE: For everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, new episodes are out every single Sunday on all major platforms. Like, download, subscribe, and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. See you next week.


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