Clinical supervision in the counseling profession is still provided widely by clinicians who have experience, training as a therapist, and is limited to those who have been trained in supervision. In the state of Georgia the practice of ethical supervision is growing. We have a credential offered by one of our professional associations (the LPCA-GA) and we have a national credential from the Center for Credentialing Education, an affiliate of NBCC. Our state licensing board, the Georgia Composite Board for Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists, updated our board rules in recent years to require supervision credentialing for Supervisors who are LPC’s. More specifically, on and after October 1, 2018, LPC supervisors were required to have either the CPCS (Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor) or the ACS (Approved Clinical Supervisor).
Tailoring Supervisor Training
Continuing education for counseling supervisors addresses all pre- and post-graduate supervision as virtually the same. The context or setting for supervision is sometimes explored but not solely discussed. A supervisee who is an intern in a graduate program is far different than a supervisee who is post-graduate school. When this topic is discussed in supervision training, it is often from the perspective of level of development and what the needs of supervisees might be based on their level of development. They are different for reasons far beyond their level of experience. That is valuable and perhaps one of the most immediate salient points. However, from the perspective of training the supervisor, I think that there are a number of other important considerations.
First and foremost, the competency of the supervisor is actually more important that the relative competency of the supervisee intern. If the supervisor who is responsible for the supervisee is not competent in supervision, we can only hope that they are competent in therapy. However, the concerns of the supervisor and therapist are different. They have a lot in common but they are very different perspectives. The supervisor of an intern must focus on education. They must ideally identify themselves in that role as an educator and a role model. They are engaging in a continuous process of modeling what it means to be in the field. I would dare say that the quality -or lack thereof- of the intern’s first supervision experience has a direct impact on the trajectory of one’s career. There are few supervisors who yield more influence than one’s first supervisor.
2 Supervisors, 1 Intern
Internship supervisors may be in the field or at the student’s university. The university supervisor is often highly academically trained and experienced. The onsite field supervisor is often highly field trained and experienced. What each supervisor values as satisfactory progress is informed by their roles. The intern can find themselves in between two lifeboats of equal distance away. They are left to discern at any given time which lifeboat they should approach. The question is when they decide which direction to swim…what resources will be available to them? Is that supervisor available and equipped?
What are the barriers to supervisor availability? Are those barriers personal, professional, environmental…? What are the expectations of the intern from the school and from the site? What expectations does the counseling intern have for themselves? What are their hopes for this experience and how will they deal with their first disillusionment and enlightenment?
Continuing Education Event!
I will be sharing more about this topic and offering a continuing education event on December 13, 2019. If you are interested in attending the event, please e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. My shopping cart is currently under renovation. The event is titled “Supervising Counseling Interns: Selection, Training, Competency and Ethics.” It is a 6 hour continuing education event. We will start at 10 am EST. The location is Sage Center Atlanta on Henderson Mill Road in Tucker, GA. Pre-registration is required and seating is limited. The workshop early registration fee is $150. Register with me at: email@example.com by Friday, December 6th and pay the early registration rate.
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