What do you do if you are an unlicensed therapist and you need hours with a clinical supervisor to earn your license, or if you are licensed and you need consultation to keep you accountable?
Many budding therapists have their degrees and now must earn their hours under the watchful eye of a clinical supervisor. Getting this necessary training is part of the foundation on which your career is built. The problem is there is a patchwork of supervision and it is largely up to the licensee to get organized and connect with a proper supervisor who can document and sign off on the hours, so you can become a licensed therapist.
Finding a clinical supervisor often causes anxiety, and finding a high quality supervisor that actually augments your training may be an even tougher assignment. Additionally, once you are licensed, there are risks to assess, and evidence based models of therapy to apply to your practice. Career development is a major issue year in and year out, it’s best to have a detailed and regularly updated plan. Supervision and consultation put you on the track toward career excellence.
Some therapists hope that any clinical supervisor will be good enough, or that you will be lucky enough to find a supervisor or consultant who can project equanimity and teach you the proper demeanor of a successful therapist. Learning how to be a psychotherapist goes beyond your treatment decisions, and into the realm of emotional intelligence with your clients. Therapists are in the business of being professional listeners who develop rapport and relate to clients. Additionally, our legal team tells us that therapists who fail to connect on an emotional level, and who ignore or harshly confront the underlying thoughts and feeling, are actually perceived as providing substandard care.
Clients consistently prefer caring, empathetic, supportive, and respectful therapists. During the early years of your practice, you are in the best position to learn the proper mindset that will serve you and your clients for the long term, and avoid the pitfalls that cause therapists to burnout or otherwise truncate their careers. You’ll know your supervisor or consultant is most qualified to consult with you if the focus remains on the emotional state and experience of your client.
Sharon Greene LCSW is Social Work Consultant to the Therapist Development Center and instructor of the Structural Family Therapy CEU.
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