Do you remember your first clinical supervision appointment? If you were like me your were nervous, excited, had a ton of questions, and and a ton of fear about asking the questions. My wonderful clinical supervisor was quite busy when I met with her the first day, and unfortunately it played on my own insecurities about the process. Thankfully, as we met more often, the relationship improved, she was less rushed, and I learned a ton of great lessons!
Were my clinical supervision experiences perfect? No, could they have been improved? Absolutely! The question comes down to, as a pre-licensed person, what can you do to ensure that you get great clinical supervision? First, you need to evaluate what is (and is not) working in your clinical supervision relationship:
* What are my outcomes with clients?
* What is my skill level in providing diagnosis, treatment planning, identifying a theory and breaking out its goals into early, middle, and late stage interventions?
* How comfortable do I feel “tattling” on myself when I feel I have made a mistake?
* How comfortable do I feel receiving feedback from my clinical supervisor?
* How often do I get feedback from my clinical supervisor?
* Am I putting into practice the knowledge and skills that I will be tested on after finishing supervised experience?
* What is my overarching goal, and am I getting the skills now that will help me reach my ultimate professional goal?
These are just a few of the questions I think that you should be asking yourself to identify what is and is not working in your supervsion relationship. In fact, I recommend to clinical supervsiors and pre-licensed persons to have an evaluation process to check in regarding the skills that are being mastered and the skills that need work. I also recommend that you use a checklist, not just each persons “gut feeling.”
Once you have integrated a clear evaluation process into supervision, you can now effectively set goals. As you set goals, it is a great opportunity to redefine each person’s responsibility, ask for additional resources or feedback that would help you reach your goal, and build the relationship.
While sometimes it can be anxiety provoking to take a clear, evalaute look at our skill level, ultimately an honest appraisal provides an opportunity to bring those hidden worries to the surface and to lower the anxiety!
I hope you will take some time this week to talk with your supervisor (or supervisee if you are licensed) and take your supervision to the next level. Is your local chapter looking for workshop topics that are important to pre-licensed individuals? I provide a day long workshop called “Superior Supervision: How to get it- how to give it” that gives specific strategies to both sides of the relationship about how to take supervision to the next level. I give specific strategies about how to conduct evaluations, and how and why to integrate exam preparation into the supervision relationship.
Miranda Palmer, LMFT
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