As a Washington State Approved Supervisor, and a soon-to-be AAMFT accredited supervisor, I believe the supervisory role to be critical in the mentoring, teaching, and guiding of mental health therapists. As I have had the benefit of many wonderful supervisors and mentors in my life (both as an educator and as a therapist), I have a strong desire to pass on many of the rich family systems traditions that have been shared with me.
I believe that the purpose of supervising and guiding new therapist trainees is to both protect the public, as well as provide a necessary training experience for guiding less experienced therapists in the development of their clinical skills, professional credibility, and overall self-confidence. Like in therapy, success in supervision depends upon strong relationships. Although there are many aspects that impact the supervisory relationship, none is more important than the establishment of a trusting environment. Trainees must be able to trust that supervisors will act in their best interest and supervisors must trust that trainees will be honest and forthcoming.
I believe that four supervisory roles – coach, teacher, mentor, and administrator, are all roles that resonate deeply with me. Clearly, there are times when I assume more of a coaching role with supervisees – “assisting a supervisee’s direct work with his or her current caseload of clients,” times when I may take on more of a teaching role – “encouraging and facilitating the acquisition of broadly applicable knowledge and information about clinical work,” times when I may assume more of a mentoring role – “focusing on the personal development of each supervisee as a growing professional,” and finally, times when I may adopt more of an administrator role – “focusing on the broad professional, ethical, legal, and other standards that guide the practice of psychotherapy (Morgan & Sprenkle, 2007).
Both individual and group supervision settings can provide a diversity of benefits for trainees. Individual supervision provides personal attention and nurturing of one trainee at a time, where group supervision provides a collaborative nature that can build confidence and grow peer relationships. At this time I offer both individual and group supervision opportunities.