Clinical Supervision

First off, I’d like to share with you that I truly enjoy providing clinical supervision to trainees and interns! It’s so rewarding for me to watch and help new clinicians grow as they gain more and more experience and skill. 

I started providing individual and group clinical supervision to MFT and MSW trainees and registered interns when I was a Director of Case Management at Caminar, an agency in San Mateo county serving adults with serious mental illness. Though there are some unique clinical challenges in working with this population, there are themes that emerge that are applicable to any clinician no matter the client population:

 

Clear and health boundaries

This is fundamental to successful clinical engagement, not only between supervisee and client, but also between supervisee and supervisor. I strive to provide my supervisees a secure environment that invites thoughtful examination and feedback of the learning and training process.

 

REview and application of theoretical models

I am guessing that you have probably heard many clinicians state that they are “eclectic” in their theoretical orientation (yes, my theoretical orientation is “eclectic” too…). But what does that mean, really? Well, the analogy I make is one of a classically trained musician – say, a pianist. This pianist has a lot of raw talent, lots of great musical ideas and wants to compose great music. However, when the pianist tries to manifest a potentially great concept, it does not sound good. Why? Because the pianist needs to learn the theory and principles, the tools, the mechanics – the rules – first. Once that is learned, then the pianist is free to draw from this knowledge and create something original and stunning. 

I believe therapy and clinical supervision is similar. We all need to know the basics theories and therapies that are the pillars of our field – Psychodynamic, Object Relations, Cognitive Behavioral, Family Systems, Solution-Focused, Narrative, and so on, in order to do this work well and figure out what our individual clinical “voice” is. And then, there is the BBS examination – the proverbial “holy grail” of license-track clinicians. You are going to need to know these theories and modalities if you want to pass the test.

I work with my trainees and interns to review the different theories as they are applied to the cases that come into supervision, so that they develop a felt sense of the modalities, versus only memorizing facts. This will help with finding their clinical “voice”, help them pass the exam, and help them become a well-informed and effective clinician.
 

Working through discomfort

Training and working as a clinician can sometimes bring about uncomfortable or unsettling feelings and experiences. However, it’s oftentimes in those moments of discomfort where what I like to call “therapeutic gold” can be found. – that is to say, the discomfort is pointing to something critically salient to the process between the clinician and client or the clinician and clinical supervisor. I work to make that “therapeutic gold” an asset for my supervisees, so they can glean insight from it and use it for clinical benefit.

At times, though, this may be confusing for supervisees. Personal issues of the supervisee may arise during challenging moments, and it may seem like clinical supervision has become more like personal therapy. Though there may be some overlap between clinical supervision and therapy (and the degree to which is often debated…), clinical supervision is not personal therapy. If it’s apparent that the supervisee needs additional support around personal issues, I warmly encourage them to pursue their own personal therapeutic work. It is my objective to keep supervision focused on clinical training, and I ask that my supervisees align their objectives to this end as well.

If you have any question about my fees, insurance, or cancellation policy, feel free to contact me via phone at 408-351-5433 or via submission form on my Contact Page.