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Psychotherapy Consultation Groups

NOTE: I AM CURRENTLY NOT LEADING CONSULTATION GROUPS. However, feel free to be in touch, as I may be able to recommend groups lead by colleagues.

 I currently lead monthly consultation groups in San Francisco and Marin which focus on helping therapists learning how to work using an experiential, here-and-now focus with clients. Additionally, the groups have evolved to be very supportive environments where early career therapists are able to explore the multitude of feelings, concerns, and rewards of being a therapist and developing a practice.

The consultation draws mainly on the approaches of James Bugental and Irvin Yalom. James Bugental was an existential-humanistic psychologist that I had to privilege to study closely with over a 10-year period. His approach helps clients obtain deeper and more present access to their inner experience through what he referred to as the "search process," combined with an active, persistent, yet supportive approach to working with resistance. Jim had a broader conception of resistance---that clients are not specifically resistant to therapy, but in fact are resistant to being fully present in their lives. In addition, I utilize the existential and interpersonal perspective of my father Irvin Yalom--specifically how to bring the spotlight onto the relationship between you and the client in a way that helps clients gain a fuller understanding how their way of being actively influences their relationships.

I have found that combining these two approaches--Bugental's being more intrapsychic, with Yalom's which is more interpersonally oriented--gives me a lot of flexibility in finding ways to make the therapy come more alive in the room--so the client is not just talking about their struggles, but actively working on them as much as possible. From my experience, although therapists may conceptually understand how to bring the work more into the here-and-now, actually learning to do this is perhaps the most difficult of all therapeutic skills to acquire. In the consultation group you will gain plenty of practice in how to apply these approaches via role play, aided by video and/or audio or of your actual sessions, as well as countertransference exploration.

My San Francisco group meets one Thursday a month from 10-12 in downtown San Francisco, and the other meets one Friday a month from 9:30-11:30 at my home in Mill Valley. The fee is $75 per group, and is limited to 5 members. Please contact me for details, and to see if this might be a good fit for you.

Comments from prior members:

"Victor Yalom's consultation group was the highlight of my week. Victor created a supportive atmosphere that facilitated experiential insight and growth.  He showed himself to be is a very skilled consultant,  compassionately and patiently helping therapists see their own blindspots, and thereby grow as clinicians.  I highly recommend this group to clinicians at any level of experience or training."
 -- Tony Rousmaniere, Psy.D., Associate Director of Counseling Services, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

"Victor's experiential consultation group helped me become more direct, authentic, and willing to challenge clients to do their best growth work. His combination of empathy and irreverent humor provided balance to my cautiousness as a new therapist. I highly recommend his groups for clinicians wanting to expand skills for working in the here-and-now relationship."
 -- Melinda Douglas, Psy.D., Private Practice, San Francisco

"In most consultation groups, participating therapists talk about problematic clients.  In Victor's group, clients enter the consulting space through their therapists by means of role plays.  The existential approach to consultation that Victor employs and teaches capitalizes on the immediacy that these role plays bring to the work.  More often than not, the in-the-room, here-and-now focus of the existential approach ends up shining a clear but compassionate light on our own psyches as they interact with those of our clients. The work done in these groups is grounded, profound and, for me, has had a lasting and positive impact on my own relationships with my clients."
 -- Laura Fannon, Psy.D., Private Practice, San Francisco