Clinical supervision is a professional relationship that offers a wide array of benefits to clinicians and their clients. Here are several definitions set forth by professionals in the field to consider.
“The purpose of clinical supervisors is to help practitioners develop skills, overcome obstacles, increase competency, and practice ethically with clients.” (Campbell, 2006)
“Clinical supervision is intended to protect the welfare of the supervisee’s clients above all else. Following that, supervision provides counselors with a means to improve their performance and build additional clinical and professional competence.”(Aasheim, 2012)
“Supervision is a collaborative process resulting in the professional growth of the Associate.” (Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers)
“The practice of clinical supervision is based on theory and research and is influenced by personal experiences of supervision as well as specific training and supervision of supervision.” (Falender, Shafranske, and Falicov, 2014).
Clinical supervision is required for new clinicians and those seeking professional licensing. However, it does not need to cease at the commencement of licensing. Many clinicians, myself included, find great benefit in collaborating with a colleague on cases and professional growth. A benefit of individualized clinical supervision is that it is a relationship that allows for direct feedback and evaluation to enhance your own clinical work. Not only that, but support in managing the hazards of the counseling professions can help you remain in the here-and-now with your clients. It is important to note that clinical supervision is different than therapy; therefore, a supervisor may recommend the clinician seek outside therapy services for content outside of the scope of supervision. I quote the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers as they state it well.
“Because the practice of Clinical social work necessitates a purposeful use of self in the service of others, it is sometimes difficult, even impossible, to separate evaluation of a social worker's professional activity from assessment of personality traits. In the supervisory process, discussion of the Associate´s personality and personal life is relevant only when these directly affect professional development and quality of practice.”
Clinical supervision is also different from administrative supervision as they operate under different models and functions. Clinical supervision aims to enhance the clinician's development and growth guided by ethical standards of the field. Administrative supervision aims to ensure effective functioning of job tasks and roles within the organization. This is not to say there is not overlap between the two, but the main focus does shift based on the model and function.
In short, clinical supervision can help provide new perspective on therapeutic process, refine therapeutic skills, and enhance the therapeutic tool box of the clinician.
Further Reading on Clinical Supervision
- Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. https://www.oregon.gov/blsw/Pages/super.aspx
- The Addiction Counselors Certification Board of Oregon. http://www.accbo.com/
- Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists. http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/index.aspx
- Pearson,Q.M.,(2004). Getting the most out of clinical supervision: Strategies for mental health counseling students. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 26(4), 361-373
- Aasheim, L. (2012) Practical clinical supervision for counselors: An experiential guide. (pp. 6). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
- Campbell, J.M. (2006). Essentials of Clinical Supervision. (pp. 5). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Falender, C.A., Shafranske, E.P., & Falicov, C.J. (2014) Multiculturalism and diversity in supervision: A competency-based approach. Washington , DC: American Psychological Association.
- Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. Effective and responsible supervision. Retrieved from https://www.oregon.gov/blsw/Pages/super.aspx