Choosing your model of choice

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Choosing your model of choice journey


Dear Supervisee,


I would hope to provide all of you a piece of mind. Though I can't speak for all supervisors or academic institutions, I will say, you are not expected to know and practice a particular model effectively when you initially begin your clinical training. Though I wrote previously a blog on what's not expected of supervisees when they start their clinical journey, this blog focuses on the process of choosing a model.


So typically, when you begin practicum, you would have finished the majority of your course work where you learned your clinical models and many other courses that address the core competencies and meet the requirements of your degree program. For some of you, you might have forgotten some of the techniques of the models, or you may actually know them overall, but one thing remains true across the board, and that's most of you won't know how to utilize the models and even less why and when to accordingly.


So when you begin your clinical training, you may decide on using a model that you recall you liked from your course work, one that stood out the most for whatever reason, the one that seems most "popular," or the one that your supervisor or peers are using. None of these reasons are wrong. You have to start somewhere. The journey in choosing and embracing a model or models is unique, and for some not fixed, as many after years of working with a particular model may decide to seek training in another to pursue and add to their therapeutic toolbox.


In my group of supervisees, some had thought they needed to stick to one model until their capstone. I shared with them that during practicum I and II, they had an opportunity to explore and test a few models to see, which seems to fit them and their client population. How is that even chosen to begin with again depends on what I mentioned earlier. The supervisees felt alleviated to know they didn't have to know exactly just then which model to use, or that they had to be experts, and that they actually had some freedom to be creative in their process. Of course, they still have to be mindful, ethical, and culturally sensitive in their work regardless of their model of choice. In these practicums, as they conceptualize their cases, they should learn if, for one, they are indeed effectively utilizing the model they say they are doing, and two, if perhaps it may make sense to use a different one. Some interns think they are doing a model, but instead, their work may be reflecting a different model or none in particular.


Let's face it, you are going to like lots of models, and you will see many utilized by your peers which you may get attracted to, but deciding which one to practice first is a process that takes time of course, but requires you to actively research and get supervised to deepen your insight and skills accordingly. You should feel comfortable and excited as your model becomes an extension of you. Note, there is no way you will embody the founding fathers of your model of choice to the T, you are you, and you would have your own flare. With time you can make your model more operationalized/procedurally. Still, some wouldn't because that's not its style, such as experiential models, as it's very in the moment in utilizing the self of the therapist and the client's experience and emotions accordingly.


Today's clinicians tend to use more than one model for many reasons. Some have found some models complement each other very nicely with specific populations, finding using just one limiting. How clinicians use more than one model varies, as some use one then another as in stages, others integrate them organically as seen fitting (interwoven), and others have found how to concretely make a new structured model in using multiple models such as Linda Metcalf's SFTNT. In deciding which models to work from, clinicians must be responsible for using evidence-based practice accordingly. This process requires the utilization of the 5 As (Ask, Acquire, Assess, Apply, Analyze, and Adjust). Below I have included some resources to learn more about utilizing EBP in research and clinical practice.


Please leave your comments below. Feel free to email or contact me 888-995-3676 or at



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