The “Un-officed” Therapist
Due to the current pandemic, those of us in the mental health field are breaking free from our offices, breaking free from our 9 to 5 (really 11-7 for therapists), breaking free from our business attire. We are free! Many of us celebrated the changes and embraced this newfound free time as a positive step. But…this freedom also has a consequence. This new paradigm means that we are alone all the time. We have lost opportunities for those quick conversations in the hallways with colleagues, or the unexpected free hour to chat with fellow therapists in offices. These interactions did not happen often, but the rare times happened enough, and we all benefited from them. As weeks transition to months, this lack of peer support and guidance will have profound effects. For therapists, staying connected to supportive colleagues is imperative to our craft as well as personal wellbeing.
As the owner of a private practice collaborative, our group has always made time to provide mutual supervision every month. It is a time we enjoyed and gained from professionally. Our seasoned therapists offered insight into technique and theoretical guidance, and our newer therapists were able to link current resources and guidelines to their practice skills. It is a beautiful exchange. Every month we bring our questions, concerns, problems, and victories to share among one another. As a group, we discuss and strategize with the same intensity as we would for individual cases. We always agree at the end of our session that our group time passes far too quickly as we rush off to our next appointments. We treasure the time we get to be ourselves and collaborate about what we love. As the pandemic changed the way we normally conduct our business routines, we decided to continue to "meet" virtually once a month. We agreed that our commitment to supervisory practices was too important to give up.
We might be evolving our practices to adapt to our new world which requires physical distance, but our foundation of humanity stays the same. We need to feel connected and as therapists, our connection comes from supervision. This is where the hearts of therapists and the role of providers merge to get the support and guidance we need to keep doing great work.
According to RICO (Resilient Individuals, Communities & Organizations Trainings, Processes & Strategies) "The purpose of the supervision process is to provide a safe, supportive opportunity for individuals to engage in critical reflection in order to raise issues, explore problems, and discover new ways of handling both the situation and oneself. A critical aspect of supervision lies in its potential to educate.".
At Supervision Circles, believe that the right type of supervision will make you a better therapist, social worker, case manager, or supervisor. Supervision provides us with perspective and knowledge and is the power source for our energy. Our experience is that it will shape and guide your journey as a therapist.
Supervision is a soul searching expedition, a quest for understanding, and the link that joins our soul to our work.
It gives us perspective and knowledge. It might even gently help us refocus when we have gotten off track. After almost 20 years in this field, I have come to truly understand the importance of supervision, and learned that supervision is a small investment that yields big payoffs.
Karen Peabody, LICSW is a therapist and business consultant for social workers and therapists interested in starting their private practice. She founded Forgewell Solutions in East Bridgewater, MA and launched Supervision Circles in 2020. For information on joining Supervision Circles, join here or contact us: email@example.com