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  • Amy Smitke

Navigating your clinical supervision hours

It can be tricky to navigate the requirements for clinical supervision hours. Supervision is a critical component of clinical training and professional development for mental health professionals. However, it can also be a source of stress and confusion. As a mental health professional, it's important to stay current on your clinical supervision hours. For mental health professionals, keeping track of supervised clinical hours is critical. But it can also be a challenge to find the time and space to complete those hours. Let's talk about some of the following questions that often come up with understanding supervision.

  1. What is clinical supervision vs training supervision?

  2. What are the clinical supervision hours requirements for my state/province/country?

  3. How can I find a supervisor that meets the requirements?

  4. How do I document and track my clinical supervision hours?

  5. What should I do if I am struggling to find a supervisor or clock enough hours?

  6. Can I count volunteer work or shadowing towards my clinical supervision hours requirement?


Clinical vs. Training supervision

Although from the outside looking in these seem as though they are the same, or that they are in the reverse of what they actually mean. Your state has likely provided you the distinction between the two if there is one for your state. Feel free to refer to the difference indicated by the Ohio board at https://cswmft.ohio.gov/preparing-for-a-license/social-workers/LISW+Supervision+Rules. The definitions provided can be a basis for gaining a better insight and understanding between the two. Clinical supervision is likely what you are receiving as part of your position at your agency, practice, facility, etc. This person is likely your supervisor or another supervisor at your place of employment and may hold a license outside of your field, for instance if you are a social worker you may be supervised by an LPC, MFT, NP, etc.

This person may be overseeing your day to day work and clinical engagement but they may not be utilizing your supervision time to assist in your professional development or working towards your licensure. Even if this supervisor has the same professional licensure, they may not be qualified to provide the training supervision towards your independent or clinical licensure you are looking to obtain. Additionally, if this person is qualified within your state to provide supervision towards licensure, you and the supervisor must be in agreement that supervision is additionally working towards licensure.

Training supervision is intended to specifically work towards licensure. This supervisor meets the qualifications required by your state to provide supervision towards licensure. The need to improve upon the theories, skills, practices, ethics, and overall competency within ones clinical scope of practice. Training supervision can include case consultation, case scenarios, theory and application, interventions, resourcing, assessments, diagnosis, treatment planning, ethical/boundary review, cultural competency/ diversity and discrimination, building a therapeutic alliance, professional development, professional values & ethics, etc. The idea is although there is relevance to what you are currently experiencing in your work environment how are you overall growing and developing professionally and personally to provide clinical care.

Lastly, document document document. You are responsible to document your supervisions and hours. It is recommended you often are having sign off on your supervision logs by your supervisor and tracking your clinical working ours and keeping your supervisor apprised of your progress towards completion.


Understanding the clinical supervision requirements in your state/province/country?

The requirements can vary from state to state. The easiest way is to go to your states website and see what the requirements are. Generally there are 2 main parameters, your supervision hours and your clinical hours. Your supervision hours are the hours of which you are being supervised by an individual in your state that meets your state requirements to provide supervision for licensure (see more about this below). Next is understanding your clinical hours. Keep in mind your clinical license is that, a license to practice independently clinically and in a clinical setting without supervision of another clinically licensed professional. In most states (varied by profession), your current work must be clinical in nature. If you are unsure a starting rule of thumb, if your job requires a mental health license you are at least on the right path, if not your current work environment may not count towards hours. It is recommended if it is not 100% clear that you get in touch with your state board to clarify. You must also be actively working in a clinical job to be accruing hours towards licensure. For instance, school social workers may not accrue hours over the summer while not practicing actively.


How can I find a supervisor that meets my states/province/countries requirements?

There are many ways to find a supervisor that meets your state requirements. First, check your states requirements under who is allowed to provide you supervision towards licensure, so that you are fully informed before you begin the search. There are states that have a directory of approved supervisors one may start to look. Often, you may be able to find a list of approved supervisors through your state or national association boards if you are a member. Then there are many websites and Facebook pages that may also be useful. The following are a few online resources for finding clinical supervision in your state:

  • Rise Directory

  • Motivo

  • Mojozy

  • Clinical Supervision Directory

  • Psychology Today

  • Therapy Den

  • And a Facebook group I run called "Behavioral Health Internship, Supervision, and Licensing Group"

I have personally utilized several of these platforms to promote my own services as a supervisor, others I know about but have not used. Check them each out to find a variety of supervisors available to you.


How do I document and track my clinical supervisor hours?

Each state may have different requirements for how they expect these to be documented. In my experience, most are vague on what or how you document. However, you may find on your governing entities website a supervision log that they would prefer your use or at a reference. I personally recommend that my supervisee's keep a spreadsheet that includes clinical hours and supervision hours, as well as supervision logs that are sent often for review and signature. It doesn't need to be fancy, but organized. As in clinical work, if you didn't document it, it didn't happen. CYA your hours and time/money spent towards your licensure. If something happens you need the proof so that you do not have to start all over, it happens A LOT, and I don't want you to experience this.


What might you do if you are struggling to find a supervisor or clock enough hours?

Unfortunately, if you aren't working in the right field, getting enough hours, or having active supervision during those hours there isn't much else you can do other than seeking a new job, or utilizing the resources above to find a supervisor. The hard part is often the state or governing body puts the pressure on the supervisee to find the supervision and the appropriate type of job to works towards their clinical license. Educating yourself, advocating for yourself, and being diligent are your best friends.


Can you count volunteer work or shadowing towards my clinical supervision hours requirement?

The short answer is no. Unless there is a variance in a particular state, every state that I am aware of requires the clinical hours be a paid position.


Utilize this Clinical Supervision Guide to assist you in making sure your clinical supervision is everything you need it to be. https://www.motivatedwellnesssolutionsllc.com/shop


Disclaimer

Each state and profession have their own rules, laws, & regulations. This is no way in replace of your states rules. Please verify your requirements and definitions with your governing body.


Until next time...Stay Motivated!

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