Documenting Clinical Supervision
Why, how, when....
Clinical supervision for those of us in the mental health field wanting to gain our ability to be move forward, progress upwards, professionally develop, practice independently and so forth, we need supervision. So why, how, and when do we do this.
Each clinical professional license and each state have varying degrees of requirements on how often, how many, and when this hours should occur as well as who is permitted to provide such supervision.
Let's briefly look at two terms clinical supervision vs training supervision.
Clinical supervision - can be provided by different professions, have potentially a different goal and outcome in mind, and is likely provided as part of your employment. This supervision may be more administrative in nature covering your work at the agency, company, hospital, etc. This person may be an social worker, counselor, marriage and family therapist, etc., but may not be in a position to provide you with the hours you need to gain your clinical or independent licensure. The goals of clinical supervision may be narrow and limited strictly to the place of employment. Your clinical supervisor may also qualify and agree to be your training supervisor, see next for more.
Training Supervision - is provided by someone in your state of license as well as allowed by your specific professional license to supervise you towards gaining your clinical or independent license (BE SURE TO KNOW THIS FOR YOUR PROFESSION AND STATE). Training supervision should assist in developing you as a mental health professional as a whole not solely for one agency, population, etc. You should be covering ethics, boundaries, burnout, professional development, case consultations, case scenarios, test preparation, etc. as part of your training supervision. This is something to consider if your clinical supervisor and your training supervisor is the same person, if they are, make sure you are ALSO receiving training supervision. If you are not, you may need to find someone else within the agency our outside the agency to provide you with training supervision. Don't short change yourself.
Now that we have an understanding of the two types of supervision you may be receiving we can talk about documenting it. You don't HAVE to document your clinical supervision, although I always highly recommend it, if you didn't document it then it didn't happen right? Still important to track any supervision you are receiving. However, you MUST/NEED to track your training supervision. Although your supervisor needs to maintain their own records of supervision, this ultimately falls on you as a supervisee to document, obtain signatures, and maintain an awareness of your hours. Your supervisor needs to keep track on their own to verify and sign off but again, that is ultimately YOUR responsibility. It is also your responsibility to get supervision logs and hours to your supervisor to consistently sign off on and keep track of throughout the supervision process.
Now each state may have different requirements in terms of reporting to the state, some only require it once at the end, others may require reporting more often, or at least recommend more frequent submission of hours. Make sure you and your supervisor are aware of who is responsible for what and when.
I recommend to supervisees, including my own, is to at least once a month provide me with their individual/group supervision logs for me to review, provide any necessary feedback, sign and return. Along with an excel sheet with the break down of their working/clinical hours that I also have to report along with their supervision hours. Why do I do this? One it keeps us both on track, accountable, and aware of any issues, concerns, and progress/development thus far and what is needed to still work on. It allows for us both to be honest about what occurred in supervision, honest with feedback and conversation, and morbidly if something were to happen to myself as the supervisor outside of my control that would potentially leave the supervisee high and dry with proving hours earned, they have my sign off and recognition of those hours the board may still honor and the supervisee isn't left in the dust. As a supervisor it is your job to take your supervision seriously and doing what you need to in order to keep your supervisees best interest in mind.
Your state often will have an example supervision log but most states to my knowledge don't have a specific requirement in terms of what they need to look like or what needs to be on them, however here are some basic information that is ideal to keep track of on a supervision log.
You and your supervisors names and license numbers
Date, time, and length of supervision
Group/Individual - and in some states virtual vs. in person
I recommending keeping track of how many hours this makes out of totals hours so for instance 5/150 - 5 hours how many that log completes and 150 being how many you may have to in total complete.
What was discussed during supervision
Competencies or areas of development focused on
Both signatures and dates of signatures
How well do you think you are doing with tracking your supervision or your supervisees supervision?
Until next time...Stay Motivated!