The first few years of a consultant's professional life can be difficult for all concerned. In this article we argue that the tasks facing the newly appointed consultant are in part instrumental, but that there are also important emotional and development challenges to be faced before the individual psychiatrist can truly fill out the consultant role. For the past 2 years we have been running a group, which we have called the transition group, for specialist registrars and newly appointed consultants working in the West of Scotland. The aim of this group is to provide peer support during this transitional process. Here we draw on our experience in this group to explore the development of professional identity, the exercise of personal authority and how this process can be supported by a group such as ours.