I was so excited to get the opportunity to talk about this topic because I truly believe ALL counselors need it regardless of their level of expertise or certification. Since this is my first blog entry, I wanted to start with the basics and discuss the benefits of clinical supervision. Some people think that supervision is just discussing problems with clients. Some people think that supervision is only necessary when you are a “novice” counselor, when you are in a Masters program completing a practicum/internship or when you are trying to get a license.
Clinical supervision is an opportunity to explore, learn, process and continue growing both personally and professionally. To be clear, there is a major distinction between therapy and supervision. When I mention “personal” gain, I mean that an individual has a chance to gain more awareness of strengths, areas for growth and any barriers to growth. In turn, he or she may also be able to generalize this information that may affect other areas of life.
One benefit of supervision can be dealing with transference and countertransference issues. When you are working with clients, transference and countertransference is unavoidable. There is a misconception that if this occurs, then we are not good counselors. Rather, what determines the effectiveness of a counselor is being aware when it occurs and then dealing with it. When a counselor is not aware and does not address transference or countertransference, this may be harmful to the client. Supervision is the perfect opportunity to process such issues and devise a plan on how to deal with them.
Most clinicians know that supervision provides a forum to discuss clinical issues and explore different interventions. Part of the clinical discussion should include potential ethical and cultural issues as well. Supervision can benefit both the supervisor and supervisee. Supervision can also be an opportunity for professional development, such as discussing different certifications and licenses.
I look forward to blogging more, and I welcome any comments or questions!
Grace Hipona is a counselor in the state of Virginia. She currently serves as a Mental Health Therapist for a clinic, a counselor for a private practice and is a doctoral candidate. She operates from a strength-based perspective.