What characteristics make a phenomenal supervisor? What about a not-so-great one? It has been an amazing few years of holding space for the community’s stories of mental health and clinical supervision, including the need for something different, something modern, and something more. For many mental health professionals, we’ve had a challenging experience of feeling unsupported or unheard by a clinical supervisor. It’s an experience that feels ever more significant when we recognize that supervisors shape us as new clinicians in the field.
It Started Out Personal
Poor supervision is how my journey started. I left graduate school with an experience of supervision that felt confusing and concerning because of an absence of boundaries. Fortunately, Christina (now my co-author and co-founder) was my next supervisor in agency work and she showed me what it was like to receive compassionate support and empowered leadership, which resulted in me meeting my full potential as a young clinician. Several years into the field, I was promoted into a supervisor role and was determined to do something different for my supervisees.
A Modern Approach to Supervision
Christina started as my supervisor and is co-founder of Supervsionary, LLC, our co-owned business focused on trainings and tools for providing quality clinical supervision. Christina and I both recognize our responsibility to the next generation of clinicians through our roles as mental health leaders and clinical supervisors. Having both worked in community mental health and actively participated in the professional development of dozens of green therapists, our awareness of supervision needs was intensified when we discovered that the most current well-known model of clinical supervision was developed in 2005. So much has changed since then! In response to our own work with supervisees, The Empowerment Model of Clinical Supervision was defined in 2018 and in 2019 the book was released, thus introducing The Empowerment Model of Clinical Supervision to the greater mental health community.
What is The Empowerment Model?
What does it take to show up as an effective supervisor that can empower and support others? A brief exploration of redefined roles within the supervisor and supervisee relationship is a valuable place to start. The Empowerment Model names and defines roles of:
You’ll notice that the role of counselor from previous models is intentionally omitted for several reasons, including efforts to respect boundaries and avoid dual roles in the supervisory relationship.
How is this Model Different?
Beyond The Empowerment Model reflecting modern roles within a fluid model as opposed to a traditional stair-step model, our initial research findings also indicated that supervisees who were engaged in The Empowerment Model by their supervisors showed statistically significant improvement in categories of General Supervision, The Administrative Counseling Process, The Clinical Counseling Process, and The Conceptualization Process compared to the control group.
Why a Second Edition?
Respecting that things continue to change quickly within the mental health field, we felt it was time to add to the book in areas that support the ongoing development of supervisors and their supervisees. The second edition:
- Recognizes Telesupervision practices as the result of the Pandemic
- Offers 47 clinical vignettes instead of the original 33, with added content on navigating interpersonal difficulties with supervisees in addition to client critical incidents
- Provides Author Anecdotes for added illustration of concepts and story
- Introduces the Ninety Minute Clinical Supervision Framework for ongoing supervision meetings
Where Do I Learn More?
If you are curious about The Empowerment Model and it’s possible application to your own work as a supervisor, leader, or therapist, you’re in luck! We have several options for how you can take a deeper dive into The Empowerment Model and it’s fit for you!
- Join us for a training on The Empowerment Model through TCI on January 20, 2023, with CEs by registering for this course
- Purchase the 2nd edition book at Amazon (beginning January 2023)
- Select self-paced trainings for continued professional development
- Explore free templates and downloads at the website
- Watch various role plays of clinical supervision topics on YouTube
It’s time to take your clinical supervision and mental health leadership to the next level. We can’t wait to hear how these supervision materials have enhanced your clinical supervision work within community mental health and private practice!
We thank our guest columnist, Khara Croswaite Brindle, MA, LPC, ACS. Khara is the co-owner and co-author (with Christina Murphy) of Supervisionary, LLC and The Empowerment Model of Clinical Supervision. Please join us for the course she presents for TCI, The Empowerment Model of Clinical Supervision: A Modern Model for Private Practice and Community Mental Health
Khara is passionate about giving people aha moments that create goosebumps and catalyze powerful action. She began her career in community mental health and managed a team of 15 green clinicians who served at-risk youth and families. Khara has provided quality individual supervision since 2014 and currently enjoys providing supervision of supervision to support colleagues in developing their leadership style. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and owner of a group private practice in Denver, Colorado. Khara is the co-founder and co-author of The Empowerment Model of Clinical Supervision, which launched in 2019. She has developed a Supervision Empowerment Academy for mental health leaders and provides clinical supervision training opportunities and consultation within the mental health field.