We know that supervision is a vital aspect of becoming a good practitioner. As a trainee, I rely on supervision for several reasons. First, it ensures that my clients are receiving quality therapy. By reviewing my client interactions with my supervisor, we reflect on different approaches and tailor a treatment plan to help my client manage his or her experiences effectively in an effort to meet his or her therapeutic goals. Second, supervision is a space for learning; it allows me to ask questions that pop up at my practicum, and because I have good supervision, I feel comfortable doing so without shame or embarrassment. Supervision also provides a space for me to talk about my experiences as a clinician and as a graduate school student studying psychology.
I have three supervisors: an on-site supervisor at my practicum, an off-site supervisor from MSPP (because my on-site supervisor is not a doctorate-level practitioner), and supervision with a fourth-year Clinical PsyD student at MSPP. Yes, this is a lot of supervision, and it takes a considerable amount of time. However, each one offers a slightly different lens on my experience.
My on-site supervisor and I spend the majority of our meeting time discussing case management. Because most of my clients are at a crisis level, this is practical and necessary. With fairly consistent exposure to my clients in the milieu environment, my supervisor is able to make observations that enrich my understanding of my clients. Additionally, because my site produces comprehensive assessments of our clients, my supervisor and I spend time crafting these assessments.
My off-site supervisor and I meet with another MSPP student who also happens to be at my site. This provides a different experience in that there are more perspectives in the room. My off-site supervisor often reflects on what seem to be systemic observations about my site, which is helpful to hear. She also specializes in a particular field (assessments) that informs my understanding of my clients.
Finally, my fourth year supervisor and I discuss two major areas: My cases and my experience at my site and managing MSPP (classes, expectations, etc.). Our time together is very helpful, and I am greatly appreciative of her investment in making this as fulfilling as possible. She has been an outstanding support and has offered gentle guidance while allowing me to explore on my own and to ask questions.
Yes, it’s quite a bit of time (about four hours of supervision a week), but it’s well worth it. As my cases become more complex, I am increasingly thankful for the diversity of supervision I have through MSPP.
Do you have questions about supervision, or comments you’d like to share about your supervision experience? Please share!