Have you ever been going along in life when suddenly you are met with a rude awakening about your shortcomings? It could have happened in a relationship that you felt was fine, and your partner dropped a bombshell that it is in fact not fine. Or, it could have been in a job where you thought your performance was decent to good and your boss met you with a completely unsatisfactory evaluation. You were blind-sided. You don’t see yourself as unaware or lacking in insight. You try your best and want to make sure that others are happy with the work you do and the effort you put in. You have been really good at other things in life and expected that this would work out well too.
Clinical Supervision Provides Protection
Let’s think about what this means for the field of mental health counseling. Many of us joined this field as it feels like an extension of ourselves in some way. Indeed, we do bring our “self” into every counseling session. And there may be some expectation that the skills and abilities of the profession will naturally develop after school, so you’re ready to jump right in and do the healing work. Even if that’s not exactly what brought you to this field, you might be lulled into a belief that you can apply your school learning and intuition, with a little oversight and all will be well. And then, that blind-siding moment comes along where you find yourself re-evaluating everything you thought you knew.
A great supervisor is so key to avoiding that moment. After having experienced something quite similar to this smack-in-the-face moment first-hand; I was blessed to find myself in the hands of great supervisors. I use those early career experiences, both bad and good, to inform my own supervision practice and hope to spare others from falling into similar pits as they navigate their career. It is very important to understand that growing into a skilled clinician takes time and practice. And it takes constructive oversight to help identify the areas you need to grow, all the while maintaining a trusting and supportive relationship between supervisor and supervisee.
Key Components of a Quality Clinical Supervisor
As you search for a supervisor, look for someone who is good at encouraging; explaining the standards you are expected to meet over time; evaluating your practice using a variety of methods, and who conducts regular formal evaluations. Know that a supervisor who is helping you grow into the best licensed clinician you can be is going to identify areas of weakness to help you keep growing. If you make it a practice to discuss expectations, acknowledge that growth is happening (and can be painful), and use open and honest communication, these can greatly protect against a blind-siding moment.
All clinicians have areas where we can develop, learn, and become better. Knowing that there is no way to be an expert after a couple years will help you maintain a growth mindset as you pursue continuing education, consultation, and support from peers once you do have the license in hand.
Know what to expect; what is expected; and get useful feedback regularly. It may be one of the best choices you make for your career trajectory.
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 their professional growth and connect with others who are as passionate about this work as you are.
Are you a new or experienced therapist, looking to work with a highly-motivated clientele? Are you looking for the option to work from home, online, during COVID-19 with the option to move to in-person sessions once it’s deemed safe? Are you searching for a full-time position with an awesome team in a growing, supportive group practice? If so, click on the link below to find out more information!
Alicia Kwande has over 15 years working in the counseling field.
Her clinical experience with adults includes working with individuals struggling with grief, anxiety, depression; those who suffer from compassion fatigue and caregiver exhaustion; and with perinatal mothers.
If you are looking to learn more about yourself and about how your strengths fit into your professional role, how you can build up areas you see as your weaknesses, and if you value honest and open communication, I would enjoy working with you.