The process of Clinical and Supervisory Services has emerged as the crucible in which counselors acquire knowledge and skills for the field, supplementing classroom education. It is critical to quality treatment for clients, development of professional staff, and maintenance of ethical standards within the industry. It provides a bridge between the classroom and clinic, allowing for in-depth review of counseling performance.
Supervisors must have a firm understanding of the developmental stages of the counselors under their supervision. This is important for determining the level of competence expected in the supervisory role.
In addition, the supervisor should have a clear understanding of the implications of establishing and maintaining confidentiality in clinical settings. A solid grasp of State law and codes of ethics is essential as is a thorough knowledge of the parameters of supervisory privilege. Supervisors should be able to discuss the limits of confidentiality with their supervisees and provide examples of situations when client or supervisory privilege may need to be waived (e.g., suspected child abuse, suicidal or homicidal thoughts, etc.).
Supervisors should be trained in methods of direct observation to monitor the level of counselor proficiency and ensure quality care for patients. This can be accomplished using one-way mirrors, videotaping equipment and other ways of observing counseling sessions. Supervisors should be able to determine the best method for their particular agency in light of available resources and the extent to which the counselor is comfortable with the observation process. Supervisors should also be able to explain and discuss any anxiety that is related to live observation with their supervisees and make sure that all parties understand the rationale for the choice of technique.