Erika M Cherry, MS, LMHC CEO/ Founder at AwakenWellness, PLLC
As a Clinical Supervisor, I take an integrative, intersectionality focused, collaborative approach to supervision. That sounds like a lot, I know. Considering we, as clinicians, bring our whole selves to the care we provide to our clients, it’s important that I am mindful to incorporate a holistic approach to the WHOLE clinician. I’ll encourage you to draw from your life experiences as you begin to balance your unique and individual art form of therapy with well-established scientific treatments and ethics of counseling.
The science of therapy involves being competent in using evidenced-based methods of treatment; being knowledgeable about the appropriate code of ethics; and diligent about seeking continuing education as our field of practice evolves.
On the other hand, the art of therapy refers to technique and is more nuanced and individualistic in that it involves knowing when to use those evidence-based methods and knowing when to be silent, empathize, support, reflect or possibly challenge a client to go beyond their edge of comfort. The art of therapy is an opportunity for a co-creative experience between the client and the clinician to emerge. Each experience will be as unique as each client, their history, their symptoms, their needs, and their willingness to engage in the therapeutic process.
My role as a clinical supervisor will take many forms:
The teacher – provides education when needed.
The counselor – uses counseling skills to guide supervisee into exploration of their own responses, beliefs, feelings, and motivations that may influence their work.
The consultant – provides alternative case conceptualizations that may assist supervisee in problem solving client needs.
The mentor/coach – supportive role, provide morale building, assess strengths and needs, suggest varying clinical approaches, bring awareness to signs of burnout, model and encourage self-care, nurture clinical ideas and curiosity in supervisee, etc.