LPC/LMFT Licensure Supervision Philosophy
As a clinical supervisor, I can help you bear in mind many interweaving components of your clients’ presenting problems, including family systems, attachment, trauma, culture, and neurobiology. I can help you identify and process the influence of transference and countertransference in your clinical work. I can also help ensure you follow legal and ethical guidelines, comply with insurance contracts, and document your work effectively.
To aid in organizing your supervision experience, I employ the Discrimination Model as a framework for supervision (Bernard, 1997). The model is situationally specific and allows me flexibility as a supervisor to tailor the focus of supervision to meet your supervision needs based on three foci: intervention skills, conceptualization skills, and personalization skills. I consider the relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee to be the most important aspect of supervision. We will explore the concept of “self” as an element of the counseling practice and client relationship within a reflective practice framework. Paramount to the successful outcome, a collaborative union built on respect and trust lays the groundwork for supervisory work. Facilitating this alliance is imperative, as is recognizing differentials within the supervisory relationship. It is not practical to assume supervisory omnipotence. I have found supervisees have much to teach me about counseling in the mutual learning process. This collaborative approach, with a focus on the developmental stage of the trainee, allows me to respond intentionally so I can better understand supervisee needs and help them move through each stage of your growth process.
Reflective supervision is the regular collaborative reflection between a service provider (clinical or other) and supervisor that builds on the supervisee’s use of her thoughts, feelings, and values within a service encounter. Reflective supervision complements the goals and practices of TIS.
Supervisor and supervisee meet regularly (for example, for an hour weekly or monthly) to discuss difficult cases. The case and direction of discussion are chosen by the supervisee, who is guided by the supervisor to examine her feelings or thoughts about the case and use this awareness to better serve the client. The relationship between supervisor and supervisee in reflective supervision models the desired relationships between provider and client in a therapeutic/helping relationship. In particular, like TIS, the relationship is based on collaboration, choice, trust, and control.
The evidence supporting reflective supervision comes from qualitative studies in early childhood services, where its presence is associated with greater resilience among providers, or where the lack of continuing education and appropriate, supportive supervision contributes to provider burnout. 6 In addition, observational studies show that child welfare agencies with more relationship-based supervision and greater time devoted to continuing education, both elements of reflective supervision, have lower rates of turnover and greater success in obtaining permanent placement for children.7 Critics may argue that reflective supervision is resource-intensive, taking the supervisor’s time from other tasks and the worker’s time away from direct services. Indeed, it does require dedicated resources, including up-front training at the time of implementation, ongoing support for supervisors, and time for supervisor and supervisee to devote to reflective practice. While these resources must be taken into consideration, the studies cited above suggest that this investment may yield returns in staff retention and potentially in client outcomes.