Clinical Supervision: Tips for Therapist Onboarding

Clinical Supervision | Performance Feedback | Better Outcomes Now

When you are in a clinical supervision role, you want therapists under your “watch” to feel not only competent when they receive licensure; you want them to feel confident in their abilities. To ensure they are onboarded appropriately, and that your relationship is marked by open communication, collaboration, and performance feedback, put these tips into practice:

  • Look for fit. At an initial face-to-face meeting, get to know your supervisee - and give them the opportunity to get to know you. Will this individual be a good match for your approach and methodologies? Will they benefit from your supervision? If you are going to be working together, you want a strong relationship based on mutual trust.

  • Explain your approach to work. What is your theoretical orientation? What is your supervisory style and experience? What expectations do you have for the individual, and what are your priorities in terms of learning and growth? Capture this in a written contract. (This will also help determine if you and your supervisee are a good fit.)

  • Look into supervisee goals and desired outcomes. What does the individual want to learn throughout the clinical supervision process? Just as you would discuss desired outcomes with clients, do so with your supervisees.

  • Explain the supervision process. There are some nuts and bolts to take care of (e.g., minimum hours for clinical supervision, client-hour to supervision-hour ratios, etc.). Make sure supervisees are aware of your state’s requirements. At this time, you can also clarify your role: will you be the sole or primary supervisor? Will there be a supplemental supervisor? Can your supervisee change supervisors, if they so choose?

  • Make client feedback data an integral part of the supervision process. First, keep the channels of supervisee performance feedback open and ensure his or her experience is of a supportive nature. Moreover, use client feedback data to identify at risk clients and opportunities for supervisee growth. Supervision should be a place to promote supervisee growth as well as client welfare. Outcome data allows both to happen and builds a culture of the importance of the client’s view of success.

The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) provides a way to discuss your supervisee’s effectiveness. Instead of “wishful thinking” or guessing, you will have access to data that facilitates improved outcomes, development, and, yes, confidence. Contact us today to find out how PCOMS and Better Outcomes Now can strengthen your clinical supervision processes.

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