Miranda Palmer, LMFT (Your MFTGuide) here to introduce our very first "in the trenches" post from an MFT Intern current gathering hours. I had the pleasure of meeting Michaela Renee Johnson at the 2013 California MFT (CAMFT) Conference in Sacramento, CA. I would love for you to hear her thoughts and recommendations about finding a good clinical supervisor while gathering hours for California licensure!
When I was in Grad school, people talked about the concept of a “good” supervisor and a “bad” supervisor.
Halfway through my practicum she announced she was moving out of State, and we would be assigned a new supervisor.
Every supervisor has a different skillset and style that they bring to the experience.
Supervision is a very personal thing, and every supervisor has strengths, and areas that could be improved.
- There are supervisors who are more oriented toward the technical details of being a therapist, making sure to verify your assessments match your treatment goals and that your prog notes have every “I” dotted. This can really help build your confidence with record-keeping.
- Then there are supervisors who are lackadaisical, letting you swim the river of BBS paperwork, insurance paperwork and clients on your own. You almost have to track them down to get five minutes outside of your weekly hour to ask questions as they come up. This will teach you to own your experience and build assertiveness skills to get what you need.
- There are also supervisors who are more focused on your talents and what happens in the office with your clients…you could say, your instinctual ability to be a good therapist (or a bad one). These supervisors sometimes feel like those one in a million experiences. And, that person who "gets you" just perfectly may be different for each of us!
- You aren’t going to be under supervision forever, at some point you are going to have to either work for an agency or branch out into your own private practice.
- Your supervisor isn’t going to be sitting next to you as you take the state exam.
- It’s ultimately up to you to find your personal style, theoretical orientation and beliefs about finances and insurance.
- A supervisor who doesn’t connect with you on a personal level, means you are missing out on a great deal of inherent learning through osmosis.
- A supervisor who doesn’t encourage the strengths they see in YOU means you never get the opportunity to feel confident before you are out on your own.
- A supervisor who isn’t the kind of therapist you want to be, isn’t going to make a great coach or mentor.
Michaela Renee Johnson is a Board Registered Marriage and Family Therapist intern who works in private practice as well as in non profit. MichaelaRenee.com