Six Ways Clinicians Can Benefit From Group Supervision
By Pansy Ayala
If you’re a clinician in the mental health field working towards licensure, you’re most likely already receiving individual clinical supervision. But have you been curious about why you should also consider group supervision and how this might benefit you as a clinician?
As the name suggests, group supervision consists of a small group of clinicians who are all working towards a full clinical license and, like individual supervision, is also led by a trained and experienced clinical supervisor. Being together with other clinicians in a group changes the dynamics of the supervision experience and provides many opportunities for personal and professional growth that can’t always happen in individual supervision.
Let’s look at 6 ways clinicians can benefit from engaging in group supervision:
1) Increased exposure to a variety of cases.
Because multiple people are coming together in group supervision, clinicians will have exposure to a variety of cases in which they wouldn’t necessarily have access to in their own work. Clinicians can grow professionally from learning about working with different populations in different settings since it will likely require them to think outside of the box and to see things from another perspective.
Even clinicians in a supervision group who work together in the same setting with the same population will increase their knowledge about working effectively with their clients since no two clients are alike.
2) Continue to learn clinical skills from others in the group.
When clinicians in group supervision share cases, they’re provided with opportunities to grow their clinical skills since, oftentimes, other members of the group will offer observations and suggestions. This requires clinicians to think critically and evaluate their engagement, course of treatment, limitations, and strengths with regards to the case.
Other clinicians in the group may have different skill sets, experience, and knowledge and can at least expose others in the group to a modality, method, approach, or intervention that other clinicians aren’t as familiar with.
3) Receive social and professional support from others in your field.
Being with others in group supervision means that you’ll have an opportunity to get support from other clinicians. Whether you work in private practice, an agency, a hospital, or another setting, there typically isn’t a lot of time to slow down and build connections with others.
Also, you might be in a setting in which you’re working independently or may be the only mental health professional in your field which can also feel isolating. Being a part of a committed group of individuals working towards a common goal can help establish a sense of community and collective purpose and allow you to receive extra support as you work.
4) Hearing multiple perspectives and receiving feedback from peers.
Clinicians will also benefit from hearing multiple viewpoints. Each clinician brings their own personal and professional strengths and insight and can provide different perspectives, approaches, and questions regarding the same case.
This also challenges clinicians to be open minded, think critically, and truly evaluate the presenting clinicians’ work with a client. Receiving constructive feedback from peers can be helpful and humbling and group supervision provides a supportive environment in which to explore that.
5) Increase social networking.
There are many benefits to building relationships with other clinicians in group supervision. One benefit is that clinicians will be able to consult with each other on cases. Sometimes it’s helpful to get someone else’s perspective on a case or to ask another clinician who specializes in an area which relates to your client.
Another benefit is that clinicians will be able to refer clients to one another which benefits not only clinicians but clients as well. There are times in which referring a client out to another provider is the best course of action and it’s helpful to have people and places to refer clients to.
Lastly, as natural relationship builders, supervisees will be able to feel more connected as a community as their bonds strengthen. As relationships grow, connections made in group supervision may develop into stronger working relationships and each clinician will be a valuable resource for each other in many ways.
6) Practice presentation and speaking skills.
Group supervision allows clinicians to practice formulating and presenting cases to others and gives clinicians opportunities to engage in interpersonal interactions with others in their field. This may be particularly helpful for new clinicians as these are skills that are learned and improved through practice.
Group supervision is a collaborative, supportive, and dynamic way to receive professional support and guidance with your clinical work. Together with individual supervision, it can be considered an important component of your professional growth as a clinician.
Pansy Ayala is a licensed therapist with Catalyss Counseling and specializes in working with professionals and parents who are experiencing anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and/or relationship issues. She uses a holistic, individualized approach to better understand who you are, what areas of your life you find problematic, and how you can reach your goals.