As a doctoral student, clinical supervision has been integrated into our entire program. I have been grateful for each of the supervisors that I have had the pleasure of connecting with as it has been pivotal in my own supervision styles and approaches. Supervision in the doctoral program has provided clarity and challenged me as a counselor and future counselor educator and supervisor. Outside of my doctoral program, clinical supervision has not been that great, but I took away from those experiences techniques and approaches that I will not be utilizing in own supervisory practices and approaches.
I have found that creative approaches have worked best in the supervisory relationships that have been fruitful. One of my previous clinical supervisors used books in our supervisory sessions. She would assign small sections or chapters and we would discuss in our session. The books would be related to a personal counseling goal or area of growth that I wanted to focus on. She would challenge me to think about how the book section related to what I was facing at the time and offer strategies or new perspective to my situation. I found it very insightful and helpful. When I was in my supervision internship, I used books and articles with my supervisees, and they said that it was helpful for them.
In my supervision sessions during my leadership/advocacy and research internships, my supervisor encouraged me to journal before our sessions. I would journal about feelings and thoughts related to the internship, the challenges, and successes for that week and what I was looking forward to the next week. I found that helpful because I did not have to sit with all those feelings for one week straight and it was out my head. Journaling also provided focus in each of those internships at various times throughout.
These are just two creative ways that were integrated into my supervision sessions. I am sure that there are others. In my experience, the creative approaches used in supervision have led me to use those strategies in other areas of my professional and personal life.
I leave you with these reflective questions: has your clinical supervisor used creative approaches in your sessions? If so, was it helpful to you? Would you consider using creative approaches as a supervisor? If so, which ones? If you already use creative approaches, what are effective ones not listed above?
Janeisha Hood Rogers is a doctoral candidate in the counselor education and supervision program in Chicago, IL. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) that has worked as a therapist in various settings including schools, community mental health agencies and in-patient hospitals. Janeisha is also a social justice advocate and enjoys raising awareness and educating others on mental health topics, social and cultural issues, and holistic healing.