April 2011 Therapist Spotlight: A Day in the Life of a Supervisor.
What is the purpose of supervision?
To help facilitate my growth as a therapist and help integrate theory and content I’m learning in class. Also it’s to integrate content, ethical, and cultural competency and to connect back to the MFT community.
What do you mean by that?
Supervision is a place to know whether your work matches the ethical codes.
What were your expectations about supervision when you first began as an HBFT?
I don’t feel like I had that many. I just expected to get support from supervision and help with issues that are unique to Home-Based work.
Did your experience meet your expectations? Why or why not?
Yeah, it has met my expectations. One thing I‘d be more interested in is having more contact with other home-based family therapists but that’s a supplement, just as another supportive group.
What would you say is unique about supervision of your HBFT work versus other your work in the Family Center?
Variables like the home-setting distractions, like if they have pets or friends coming over or if it’s neat or messy and it can be more difficult to minimize those distractions. How to work with those distractions and focus on the therapy process is harder. But a good thing is that it allows you to see the natural process. As far as safety, we’ve made some reports with child abuse but not really different. I feel safer having a partner or a team with me. I like that.
How does your supervisor address the added safety issues you face as an HBFT?
At one point we had to make a report about child abuse. In supervision we talked about it in the context that we’re not the investigator we just make the report. My supervisor helped us by framing how to talk about it with families and supported us more by coming with us.
What has been most helpful to you in supervision?
I think talking about cultural issues, especially the military and issues relevant for military families and also talking about how to create structure in home-based work. Also how to work with distractions that are there and just being able to get support overall cause it kind of feels like you’re out on your own so getting connected to other clinicians as a resource.
What has been least helpful to you in supervision?
Sometimes there are too many ideas or not tying things to the treatment plan
Why is that?
I think that I still need help making treatment cohesive. So sometimes I think supervision is good for brainstorming but I still need help fitting it together like how it relates to therapy goals.
What does your supervisor do to help you with your self-care?
Just bringing it up in conversation asking me how I’m doing with it. Also, modeling low anxiety and modeling how to separate work from home life and having compassion for the feelings I do have as well as finding the balance between work and self-care. My supervisor is good at being compassionate about how much we care for clients and work and how difficult it can be to separate the two.
Is there anything else you feel would be important for other HBFTs to know about supervision?
There is more intensity in the home and it is easier to have more intense relationships with those in the home. So just talking about unique things about supervision is important.