In a recent study of professional therapists, more than half of the participants reported “moderate to high burnout.” Many find that although they love the work they do, the loneliness and isolation of private practice can feel unbearable.
To head off such dissatisfaction and fatigue, all clinicians, no matter their experience, should have a place to discuss their clinical work. This may sound obvious but, sadly, this relief is not always the reality. There are several solid reasons why clinical supervision is helpful. One under-examined reason is the role it plays in reducing therapist burnout.
Signs of Clinician Burnout
Some signs may seem more apparent, e.g. dreading the workday, cutting sessions short, spacing out during sessions, or feeling a sense of relief when a client cancels. A few more insidious signals may come to light if we ask ourselves questions like this:
- Do you give advice as a shortcut as much as a path toward patient growth?
- Is your empathy decreasing?
- Has self-disclosure become common and does it help you more than the client?
- Are you listening and adjusting or are you pushing a technique-based agenda?
- How often are you doing psychology-related readings?
- Do you notice yourself repeatedly offering the same interpretations?
- Do you fantasize about having a job in which you leave work at work?
- What might your former ethics professor think if they watched your sessions?
How Can Clinical Supervision Help?
Simply put: when we have a place to discuss our clinical work with an experienced supervisor, we usually find areas where we are overworking, overthinking, and being less efficient. As a result of such analysis, our work will provide more value with less effort. This is a classic win/win scenario. To follow are some other ways clinical supervision position us for more professional and personal satisfaction!
4 More Ways Clinical Supervision Enhances Your Performance With Clients
1. Helps With Transference and Countertransference
It’s important to understand that patients act out their life problems in the treatment room. This, of course, is the transference. We can only help them if we recognize this trend and don’t take it personally. Clinical supervision can help the clinician understand what is actually happening in the room via countertransference. Even the most experienced clinicians can get caught up in enactments (acting out of the transference/countertransference) with a client without the help of colleagues.
Every therapist has feelings and thoughts directed towards their patients. Our interactions during clinical supervision teach us about the significance of our thoughts and feelings. How much does it have to do with us? How much is induced by the patient? This is critical information needed to formulate your interventions.
2. Increases Client Retention Rates
Talking about a case helps us attain clarity. When we understand what a client needs in order to grow, we’ll be in a position to provide better interventions. Clients will stay longer in treatment because they will see the value of the work.
3. Helps You Go Deeper With Your Clients
As we begin to discuss our cases, we will notice areas where we’re avoiding confrontation, setting proper boundaries, moving away from difficult material, and so on. We can work through our own blocks with a good clinical supervisor and be able to push through these difficult areas with our clients.
4. Develop Better Self-Esteem and Confidence
As our work improves we will feel more comfortable in the work and feel good about ourselves.
This, in turn, enables us to begin to enjoy the work much more and report better job satisfaction.
All Roads Lead to Your Clients — and Their Needs
There are many unique reasons why someone trains to become a mental health clinician. One common thread involves a desire to truly help others through the power of talking, suggesting, and providing a avenue for our client’s growth. As our careers progress, it’s not unusual to lose sight of this. Therefore, it is always useful to embrace clinical supervision. After all, everyone — patients and therapists alike — need some talking, suggesting, and interpreting in our lives. Feel free to contact me to discuss or consider joining my supervision group.