Clinical Supervision

The purpose of supervision in mental health counseling is to enrich the clinician’s attitudes, knowledge and skills in order to competently provide quality care resulting in improved clinical outcomes.

In the context of evidence-based mental health practices, clinical supervision is a useful tool in disseminating evidence-based practices and ensuring the fidelity and effectiveness of a treatment program.

Three Components of Supervision

  • Educational/Clinical – the supervisor teaches therapeutic skills and helps the clinician develop self-awareness in order to better the therapeutic interactions with clients.
  • Administrative – objectives of the agency/organization’s policy and public accountability are transformed into tasks to be accomplished by the clinician.
  • Supportive – the supervisor guides the clinician in finding ways to decrease job related stress in order to improve job performance.

The Goals of Supervision

  1. Promoting supervisee growth and development through teaching.
  2. Protecting the welfare of the client.
  3. Monitoring supervisee performance and gatekeeping for the profession.
  4. Empowering the supervisee to self-supervise and carry out the above goals as an independent professional.

The Roles of a Supervisor

  1. Teacher.
  2. Mentor.
  3. Consultant.
  4. Career counseling.
  5. Sounding board.
  6. Advisor.
  7. Administrator.
  8. Evaluator.
  9. Recorder and documenter.
  10. Empowerer.

Qualities of a Good Supervisor

  1. Warm and supportive.
  2. Provides useful feedback and constructive criticism.
  3. Experience and effectiveness as a mental health clinician.
  4. Possesses good clinical insight.
  5. Empathic – ability to be present with a supervisee.
  6. Adheres to ethical practices.
  7. Ability to support and challenge.
  8. Multicultural awareness.
  9. Training as a supervisor.
  10. Ability to manage multiple tasks, relationships and levels.
  11. Available and approachable.


Fall, M. & Sutton Jr, J. M. (2004). Clinical Supervision: A Handbook for Practitioners. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Haynes, R., Corey, G., & Moulton, P. (2003). Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions: A Practical Guide. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Thompson