Using Creativity in Clinical Supervision
Effective clinical supervision is a combination of hearable direction about clinical practice, gentle-direct leadership, clinical “Know-How,” evidence-based skills, complex psychodynamics, and the willingness to work with others on their developmental processes. There are risks involved. I have provided clinical supervision and consultation to other clinicians for 43 years without a legal or ethical issue. I do not think you should allow your creative spirit to run wild; there are many very serious ethical and legal implications in supervision. These are not benign; most states hold clinical supervisors 100% accountable for the actions of their supervisees, whether those actions were known and recommended by the supervisor or not.
Here we will look at the work of Leonardo DaVinci, the genius in art, science, engineering, and humanities. He saw art as science and science as art – most clinicians recognize these combinations in their own clinical work. I will simply note a list of documented attitudes, values and behaviors that DaVinci mastered. Here is the list. Courage may be needed to move off your comfort-path.
- Practice intense curiosity and deep awareness about the specific details of your work. As you do this apply a sense of wonder about your observations and different possible perspectives you encounter. Multiple realities of perspectives do exist. There may not be one absolutely correct response.
- Observe! Observe! Observe! Notice how your supervisees do their work, and how their idiosyncratic personalities and attitudes influence that work and your supervision. Be certain to pay close attention to the facts of reality, but better to procrastinate a bit before making big decisions. Be sure you have all the correct facts. You may need to test your hypothesis.
- Use your personal imagination more, and visualize the situations that cause you the greatest concerns. Remember: Do No Harm! In some situations it may actually be ok to use day dreaming and helpful fantasy for new perspectives for problem solving.
- Be sure to keep written lists of all the things you need to do. Also, write in your own “supervision development journal” about new things you learn and lessons you wish you already knew. Review selected parts of that journal with your own supervisor.
- It pays to be a little obsessive when dealing with supervisees and the welfare of their clients. Your growth also depends upon being a bit obsessive with learning new clinical processes and evidence-based interventions. However, remain creative and highly responsible in your role. Document everything you do in your role.
- For more see Isaacson, W. (2017). Leonardo DaVinci…New York: Simon & Schuster.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness