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Your accountability in supervision
Supervision should not be a one-way street. Your supervisor's role is not to be a lecturer; that's a professor's job. Though your supervisor does typically play many parts as a coach, educator, advocate, mentor, and gatekeeper, his or her key role is a mentor-collaborating with you on your clinical developmental journey; (assisting and facilitating), but you need to play an active role in your developmental process. Some of you will get lucky and find a supervisor that respects your unique process and helps cultivate it to grow and meet and exceed the field's core competency standards; others of you may find some supervisors that do the bare minimum for whatever reason. Do not be intimidated to ask for what you may need. Some of you may argue, "but the supervisor is the expert they should know what I need they- should be responsible for helping me be an 'expert'". There are indeed some responsibilities required of supervisors as there are of supervisees. Each is accountable for their role and duty in the supervisor-supervisee relationship.
So what might that relationship look like? It should be professional, ethical, respectful, mindful, and stimulating-in challenging growth; it should allow for a sense of comfort and safety to voice needs. If you have a supervisor that cancels a lot on you, make sure to let them know you need consistency and come up with a day and time for reoccurring appointments to assure that's blocked. Bring topics in for discussion, do not hesitate to ask questions; you are not expected to be an expert and know everything. Discuss short and long term professional goals. If appropriate, share personal challenges impeding your work. Discuss the challenging cases, to get guidance in identifying appropriate and effective approaches accordingly. If there are areas you know, you are limited in bringing those up, such as diagnosis, assessments, paperwork, and treatment planning. The bottom line, though all these are commonly addressed in supervision, do not assume it is solely your supervisor's responsibility, but instead, take an active role in your clinical development; have a voice. In fact, there may be times you disagree with your supervisor or, worst of all, you may think he or she is unethical or unprofessional, and therefore you should not just remain silent and ignore. Always address your concerns professionally, and if you do not feel respect or comfortable in the supervisory relationship, you should discuss it and potentially address seeking a new supervisor. Now, what I just addressed reflects more so of an off-site supervisor situation during licensure, but for those of you in an agency, you may consider requesting an appointment to speak to a director if appropriate.
I believe the clinical supervisory journey is fundamental to your professional identity. It sets the roots and stage of your career. You should look forward to it, as you feel empowered to work collaboratively with your supervisor on developing your clinical knowledge and skills.
Supervisor and Supervisee Resonsbilities
Responsibilities of Supervisor:
- Provide an atmosphere of trust, support and encouragement so professional growth may be experienced.
- Respect for the supervisee’s chosen theoretical orientation.
- Provide clinical expertise and skills in a way that the supervisee’s use of self in the therapeutic process is enhanced.
- Provide supervision in an ethical and professional manner.
- Assist the supervisee with examining interpersonal issues that impact therapy.
- Seek collegial consultation when issues emerge that impede the supervisory experience.
- Maintain confidentiality regarding supervision.
- In the event of an emergency, be available to the supervisee or provide other arrangements for supervisory alternatives.
- Model behaviors that enhance the supervisory process.
Responsibilities of the supervisee:
- Prepare for the supervisory sessions as negotiated by supervisor and supervisee.
- Openly explore clinical strengths and areas for clinical growth.
- Be open to feedback and to different techniques and models.
- Secure confidentiality within the ethical and legal statues.
- Obtain written permission from clients, within agency policy and procedures, for use of information from treatment for the purpose of supervision. Identify the supervisor, by name and credentials to clients.
- Accept only cases within the scope of your practice and skill level.
- Contact the supervisor in the event of a client/therapeutic emergency.
- Be receptive to personal therapy outside the supervisory process, on your own volition or upon the recommendation of the supervisor.
- Maintain case documentation in a timely manner.
- Uphold ethical standards of practice, as outlined by AAMFT and other relevant professional
If you have any questions or feedback leave it below or feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-995-3676
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