Mary is a Board Approved Supervisor
Supervision to Social Workers at all levels, as approved by the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners
What is Supervision?
In order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or one who is able to perform mental health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, without the oversight of an agency or another qualified individual, a Licensed Master Social Worker must first practice the art and science of Clinical Social Work for a minimum of 3,000 hours under the guidance of a Supervisor. This process takes 2 years or more, and requires weekly supervision sessions, aka “supervision.” During these critical training sessions, and throughout the entire supervision period, the Supervisor oversees the practices of the Master Social Worker, providing guidance and education as necessary. This mentorship is often considered the most important aspect of the training and development of a fully qualified professional.
The Role of the Supervisor
A Clinical Supervisor has numerous responsibilities in taking on this role. There is a responsibility to the profession to ensure that the wisdom and knowledge developed by generations of Social Workers is passed on to those entering the field, while keeping up with the latest revelations of science and best practices in the fields of Social Work and mental health treatment in general. Supervisors have a responsibility to the Board to ensure high quality training in all aspects of client care and clinical training, to ensure those who will hold the title of Clinical Social Worker are fully prepared and qualified. The responsibility to the Social Workers we supervise is to ensure that they gain the experience, skills and knowledge required to become the best clinician they can be. Supervision is where the art of our profession is best taught and practiced. Most importantly, Supervisors have a responsibility to the clients the Social Work Supervisee serves. Ultimately it is the Supervisor’s responsibility to make sure each client gets the respect, care, and high quality treatment he or she deserves and requires, in accordance with the ethics of our profession and the laws and rules of the State of Texas.
The Role of the LMSW in Clinical Supervision
A Licensed Master Social Worker has already completed a Baccalaureate degree in Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Criminal Justice, or some closely related field, and subsequently completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work, which included practicing human services or clinical work in an internship capacity for over 1,000 hours. He or she has also passed a state examination, and/or undergone a Board review of his or her education and practice experience, as well as background check and work history review. And now, the ‘real’ education can begin!
While I refer to it as the ‘real’ education partially in jest, this is where the rubber meets the road as far as the Social Worker’s development as a clinician. While there is a great deal of learning to be done throughout a social work career, the supervision period offers the opportunity for a Social Worker to climb what is, perhaps, the steepest portion of the learning curve. It is exciting and challenging and sometimes even frightening. Most of all, it can be incredibly rewarding. The role of the LMSW in supervision is to rise up to meet the challenge on many levels.
Having read numerous case studies presenting instances of ethical breaches, systemic failure, missed clinical opportunities, legal/ethical dilemmas, etc., and having practiced in a more sheltered environment doing field work in graduate school, you are now practicing without a net. Or almost without a net. You can count on your supervisor for regular case consultations, providing direction, imparting knowledge, offering encouragement, and redirecting you if you are heading down a dangerous path. Yet your Supervisor isn’t in your head with you. Seeking out your own learning experiences, sharing new ideas, doing homework and independent study, following guidelines – and sometimes questioning them, are all parts of your responsibility. There is a parallel process between supervision and therapy. Just as your client’s overall progress is determined much by what she does outside of the therapy session, so is your progress determined by how much you put into your supervision experience. Self-care and knowing the limits of your capabilities, while choosing to expand them, are of utmost importance during this rich and critical stage of your professional development. You have a responsibility to yourself, your clients, your Supervisor, the State and the profession to cultivate your professional practice to the best of your ability. The experience you seek and the habits you learn now will set the tone for your the career that lies ahead of you.
A Good Fit
The goodness of fit between Social Worker and Supervisor is similar in importance of that between client and therapist in determining the outcome and enjoyability of your Supervision period. Mary provides individual supervision to enthusiastic, compassionate and dedicated LMSWs who are ready to perform (almost) without a net.