Group Supervision versus Individual Supervision: What is the Difference?


If you are a pre-licensed or limited-licensed counselor or social worker, you are likely in the process of getting your supervised hours towards your licensure. You know that the regulations for your license allow you to get both group and individual supervision but you’re not sure what to focus on. What is the difference? And why would you choose either one or the other for yourself and your own needs?


Individual Supervision


Individual supervision for pre-licensed counselors and social workers is the most popular type of clinical supervision. In this, you as the supervisee meets individually with your one assigned clinical supervisor, usually once per week but perhaps pro-rated to every other week or once per month if you are working less than full-time.

In individual supervision, you will have the opportunity to do case consultations by presenting and thoroughly discussing a clinical case. You may be recording your clinical sessions through video or audio tape for detailed review in your individual sessions. You can also dive more deeply into your own role as a counselor and how it impacts your work.


Your individual clinical supervisor will get to know you very well throughout the supervision process. The development of the clinical supervision relationship between supervisee and supervisor is key for your growth and development as a counselor, and may be challenging at times. Conflict may arise, and will be worked through. Your personal issues will become known to your supervisor, and you may be encouraged to seek out your own therapy or counseling to make sure your personal issues aren’t impacting your clinical work.


You also have a chance to really develop your clinical interventions as it relates to a particular theoretical orientation(s) in individual supervision. Perhaps you want to explore cognitive behavioral therapy and its strategies, your role as the therapist, and the session structure more; individual supervision is the perfect place to this. Or maybe you’re looking to learn more about motivational interviewing for use with substance abuse, or how family systems work can support you as a school social worker.


Individual clinical supervision is invaluable for your professional growth and development in the counseling and social work field.


Group Supervision


Group supervision is made up of 3 or more supervisees (usually up to no more than 6 per group) and led by an experienced group clinical supervisor. Your group will usually meet less often, perhaps 1-2 times per month, than you will for individual supervision. Group supervision is also often cheaper, if you are paying out of pocket for your supervision, and more efficient for the clinical supervisor to meet with multiple supervisees at one time.

The benefits of group supervision are multifold. First, you are making connections and hearing viewpoints from many counselors other than just your clinical supervisor. You may be exposed to various different populations that you have little to no clinical experience in working with. You will hear different perspectives on how to approach a case, or learn about alternative theoretical orientations.


Supervision groups also allow you the opportunity to experientially participate in a group. While it’s not a therapy group, the stages of development of a group supervision often mimic the stages of development of a clinical group. The clinical supervisor models for you as supervisees how to facilitate a group effectively, including how to develop group norms, manage conflict within a group, and deal with different personalities within the group.


Group supervision is often overlooked by supervisees because it is optional for most licenses. However, the benefits you’ll get from group supervision can be impactful throughout your career. Here at Catalyss Counseling, we highly encourage all supervisees to participate in a supervision group because we believe so strongly that it will help you along the way towards your professional growth.


During your group supervision, it is likely that each participant will present and review a clinical case, obtaining input for clinical strategies, interventions, and directions to go in. You may also talk about general clinical themes or topics, depending on your group supervisor, and learn about others’ theoretical orientations.


Overall, group supervision provides a different perspective of your professional growth and development as a social worker or counselor. Both individual and group supervision are useful and we hope that you make the best of both opportunities that you have while pursuing your clinical supervision!


If you or someone you know are interested in getting clinical supervision services through Catalyss Counseling, we offer multiple supervisors and groups to choose from. View our Supervisor Bios to see who might be a good fit for you and get started with a free 20-minute phone consultation!


INTERESTED IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION?


If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about our Clinical Supervision and Clinical Consultation services with Catalyss Counseling, including our group and individual options, contact us at 303-578-6318.


We help therapists throughout Colorado further your professional growth and connect with others who are as passionate about this work as you are.


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Author Biography

The owner of Catalyss Counseling, Shannon Heers, located in Englewood CO and serving all of Colorado through online therapy and in person counseling.

Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and the owner of a group psychotherapy practice in the Denver area. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.








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