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Using Supervision to Promote Personal Growth

Supervision is often thought of as an opportunity to participate in a relationship intended to teach counseling skills and techniques, as well as foster the development of the knowledge necessary to function as a mental health professional. While this description is certainly true, it is not comprehensive. Supervision may also serve the purpose of helping mental health clinicians grow personally as professionals. Clinicians are encouraged to establish an open and honest relationship with their supervisor built on trust through the establishment of roles (e.g., responsibilities as supervisor and supervisee), goals (e.g., intended achievements and outcomes) and boundaries (e.g., expectations and rules). The supervisee grows and develops through the exchange of information that occurs through the context of the supervisor-supervisee relationship. Students and counselors are encouraged to reflect on feedback shared by their supervisor while considering ways to apply the information to their identity as both a person and a counselor or future counselor. This process may sound easier than it is, especially when feedback is constructive (e.g., negative) or opposes the supervisees views of themselves. A helpful suggestion might be to pause to consider ‘truths’ in the feedback and seek examples to confirm the information shared, as well as inquire about the rationale or seek evidence to substantiate feedback. Once the feedback is understood and accepted, try to apply it to interactions with others in both personal or professional relationships. Consider using supervision as an opportunity to foster personal growth in the mental health profession. After all, clinicians may want to ‘practice what they preach’ to their clients and engage in the process of ongoing development.



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