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  • Writer's pictureElliot Huemann

What Makes a Good Clinical Supervisor?

In the last year I became a supervisor in WA and am currently pursuing becoming a supervisor in MN. Throughout this process I've been reflecting on my experiences as a supervisee and how important it has been for my growth. In my experience, three key elements stand out as markers of a good supervisor: their experience and knowledge, their focus on integration over instruction, and their ability to be relatable and open. This blog will delve into these aspects, offering insights and practical examples from my own experiences.


Experienced and Knowledgeable


A supervisor's depth of experience and breadth of knowledge are fundamental. For instance, I once worked with a supervisor who specialized in somatic and neuro-informed approaches, closely aligning with my interests. This synergy was invaluable, as they provided insights directly relevant to my client work. Importantly, a great supervisor balances their expertise with humility, openly acknowledging their growth areas and the uncertainties in the field. In practice, this meant that my supervisor and I could engage in a two-way learning process, where their guidance was grounded in experience, yet adaptable to new ideas and approaches.


Focused on Integration, Not Instruction


The role of a supervisor is to guide, not to impose a predefined path. The most effective supervisors I've encountered asked about their style and focused on helping me integrate my experiences into my practice. They encouraged reflection and learning from real-life situations rather than strictly adhering to theoretical models. For example, after a challenging client session, my supervisor would facilitate a discussion that helped me reflect on my approach, consider alternative strategies, and integrate these insights into future sessions.


Relatable and Open


The relationship between a supervisor and supervisee is crucial. It needs to be built on trust and openness, allowing for vulnerability. A good supervisor creates a safe space for sharing successes and struggles alike. In my experience, this has meant having a supervisor with whom I could discuss my uncertainties and fears without judgment. This openness has often led to breakthroughs in understanding my clients and myself as a therapist.


Navigating the path of supervision is a journey of learning and growth. By focusing on these three key elements – experience and knowledge, a focus on integration, and relatability – you can find a supervisor who truly enhances your professional development. If you're interested in exploring what supervision with me would be like, I invite you to reach out.


For more information, or to start a conversation about supervision, visit www.elliothuemann.com/contact.


*This post was written in collaboration with generative AI.

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