Even therapists need therapists! In fact, it’s generally encouraged – and sometimes even mandated – that therapists meet with their own therapists. In clinical supervision, therapists get help with their practice and grow their mental health.
What is clinical supervision?
Clinical supervision is a term that’s often used in the mental health field. Therapists who provide clinical supervision meet with other therapists to guide them through difficult cases, explore their internal reactions to clients, and encourage them to engage in self-care practices.
Nearly all therapists are required by their state licensure policies to engage in clinical supervision after they graduate and when they’re first starting to work with clients. This ensures that new therapists get the supervision and guidance they need to develop as professionals – and is a way to ensure that all clients are getting appropriate care. However, many experienced therapists who have been in the field for many years also choose to attend clinical supervision. By getting another perspective on client situations, therapeutic tools, and treatment plans, therapists build their clinical skills and become better therapists for their clients.
Types of clinical supervision
There are many different types of clinical supervision. Two of the main types are individual clinical supervision and group supervision. Individual supervision looks very much like any other individual therapy session, except that both of the parties are therapists. Generally, one therapist takes the lead as facilitator and guides the conversation for the clinical benefit of the other therapist (the “client”).
In group supervision, multiple therapists meet together to talk about their cases. This opens the floor for multiple perspectives, pointers, and probing questions from a diverse range of practitioners. Often, one therapist will present a difficult case each week. The group will then discuss the case, including the therapist’s personal reactions towards the case, and help problem solve. This is a great way to learn more as a clinician and hear about cases outside of your own.
Benefits of clinical supervision
The goal of clinical supervision is to grow your skills as well as to prevent burnout. Therapists can’t bring their work home with them or talk about their cases with their usual support systems. Clinical supervision gives them the opportunity to talk openly about a case with someone who knows what it’s like to be in the chair. By connecting with another therapist, it’s possible to find greater meaning in your work, which is a strong protective factor against burnout.