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  • Heather Bense

What to Look for in Private Clinical Supervision

Seeking out private clinical supervision is a significant investment in yourself and the clients you serve – but what factors should be considered when selecting the right supervisor? Here is what to consider as you search for a private clinical supervisor:


What is the Supervisor’s Clinical Orientation? The clinical orientations used by your supervisor will be critical to how they guide and support your work, so be sure to think about what types of clinical orientations you want to use. What perspectives do you bring to the work? Do you need additional support or guidance in trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, or relational perspectives? What treatment modalities align with type of interventions you provide, or have an interest in exploring?


Does This Supervisor Have Experience with the Populations I am Interested In? Ethical standards remind us that clinical social workers and professional counselors must work within the scope of their experience, and the same is true for clinical supervisors. Asking detailed questions about a supervisor’s experiences with specific populations (i.e. addictions, eating disorders, or children) will help you get a better sense of what you can expect from the supervision they provide.


Do They Fit with my Expectations for Support? Think about the logistical considerations you have for your personal and professional work life. Do you need a supervisor to answer questions on the weekends? Evenings? Do you need a regularly scheduled date and time for supervision, or do you need flexibility from week to week? Ensuring that you and your supervisor have the same scheduling needs and support expectations may sound irrelevant, but it can make all the difference in urgent situations.


Do I Feel a Connection to this Supervisor? This might be last in this list here, but for me this is the most critical component of critical supervision. So much of a supervisor’s role is to share clinical experiences and support the growth of a supervisee – if you do not feel you can trust them or that they will be open to cultivating the supervisory relationship, then they might not be the right fit for you.



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