Janette, a Home-Based Family Therapist, has been practicing in a community mental health center for ten years. She enjoys the work but finds that there are times when she experiences increased stress when the agency policies and, subsequently, her supervisor's (Susan) expectations of her change.
One afternoon, Janette returns to the office after a difficult session with a family in their home. Janette asks Susan for an impromptu supervision meeting to discuss the session. Susan graciously agrees.
Janette begins by describing ways the family appeared resistant to her efforts. She notes that the family members each seemed to question everything she was suggesting but also offered no alternative suggestions. Janette notes that she has faced this type of situation before with other families but that this experience felt different. Susan asked a series of questions that helped her to better understand the situation, the topics discussed, and the challenges as Janette perceived them.
After 45 minutes of exploring the situation together, Susan discovered that Janette had repeatedly dismissed each suggestion she had made and noticed that the conversation had migrated toward Janette's frustrations over the recent agency policy changes affecting her therapeutic work. Susan decided to shift the focus of conversation to overtly address the agency policies and the impact of those changes on both of their roles. After acknowledging their shared experiences of change, the two experienced a greater sense of collaboration as they returned to discussing Janette's family work.