Are you looking for someone to supervise your hours for your Board of Behavioral Sciences LMFT or LCSW?
Are you looking for someone who really gets what you are going through and helps you not only improve your basic clinical skills, but also challenges you to get prepared for exams and for successful licensed practice?
Do you want a clinical supervisor who understands the current exam structure, marketing principles, private practice, and can mentor you through this process?
How does private supervision work and why would I do that?
Are you working in a great position, but find that your access to clinical supervision is limited? Or, are you stuck in a rut with your current clinical supervisor? Or are you just looking for someone with specialized skills? Whatever your reason for looking into private supervision, the process can be quite simple.
The biggest benefit to choosing to get outside supervision, is the opportunity to choose a clinician who will be the best match for you based on your career goals, clinical skills level, speciality, etc. Often, in nonprofit agencies and government settings, you are simply assigned a clinical supervisor. While some people get lucky, others feel frustrated and let down- and not necessarily because the clinical supervisor isn't wonderful! You can have a wonderful clinical supervisor who is not able to challenge you and help you grow at the pace you want to!
While you should not look for a clinical supervisor who just wants to "make you happy," you should look for someone who meets your needs. In so many situations, MFT Interns feel helpless or terrified to ask for what they need in the supervision relationship. In some cases, this fear is warranted, in other cases it is simply an issue to work through. However, a relationship of choice often provides additional support and safety for interns and trainees who are working to get more assertive.
What about the cost?
Private supervision provides you with your pick of a clinical supervisor that completely meets your needs. You can think of this as getting specialized, private training. You are responsible for the cost of supervision. The cost of supervision may be a tax write off under "job related expenses" on your taxes, check with a CPA.
So how do you start?
Start by searching for a clinical supervisor in your area, or somewhere in the state who has the kind of practice or skills that you want to develop. You can do this by doing a Google search, or checking the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) directory. Read through web sites, check their bios, and try to find someone that you feel like you "click" with.
What is next?
The next part is often the hardest part for interns and trainees. You need to call or e-mail to start the process of interviewing your potential supervisor. And no, I don't mean that you are calling to get interviewed. This will be a collaborative interview, and you will both be interviewing one another. Initially, it will be you interviewing them to decide if this is a person who would be a good fit. Questions to ask:
- How long have you been licensed? (Make sure they are qualified to supervise based on the requirements of your state).
- What is your style when working with prelicensed MFTs who are gathering hours to sit for exams, studying for exams, and who are transitioning into private practice?
- What specialized clinical training do you have?
- What are your rates?
- Have you done contracted clinical supervision in the past?
- Could you please send me your curriculum vitae (CV)?
So, I found the one- what now?
Now, is the time to talk with your placement about your desire to seek outside supervision. Be sure to outline not only the benefits to you, but more importantly, the benefits to the employer. Offer to sign a contract stating that you seeking this supervision for your own personal development.
Expect that your current employer will want to interview the potential supervisor, that is normal.
Contract supervision, how does that work?
Has your agency lost its clinical supervisor? Or has your employer asked you to find a clinical supervisor for them to contract with? After you interview and choose the clinical supervisor that you think might be right for you, the agency will often interview the candidate to determine his or her fit with the agency, and negotiate fees. In this case, the agency is responsible for the cost of the supervision.
I hope that this overview of hiring a clinical supervisor and the benefits, drawbacks, and questions to ask helps you on your path of becoming a successful MFT!
(So what if I would like to have you as my clinical supervisor? I would love to chat with you. Feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 343-2771 so we can discuss your needs and how I might be able to help you reach your goals. I am happy to help you navigate this entire process ethically and appropriately.)