Clinical supervision is emerging as the crucible in which counselors acquire knowledge and skills for the substance abuse treatment profession, providing a bridge between the classroom and the clinic. Supervision is necessary in the substance abuse treatment field to improve client care, develop the professionalism of clinical personnel, and impart and maintain ethical standards in the field. In recent years, especially in the substance abuse field, clinical supervision has become the cornerstone of quality improvement and assurance.
Your role and skill set as a clinical supervisor are distinct from those of counselor and administrator. Quality clinical supervision is founded on a positive supervisor–supervisee relationship that promotes client welfare and the professional development of the supervisee. You are a teacher, coach, consultant, mentor, evaluator, and administrator; you provide support, encouragement, and education to staff while addressing an array of psychological, interpersonal, physical, and spiritual issues of clients. Ultimately, effective clinical supervision ensures that clients are competently served. Supervision ensures that counselors continue to increase their skills, which in turn increases treatment effectiveness, client retention, and staff satisfaction. The clinical supervisor also serves as liaison between administrative and clinical staff.
This module focuses primarily on the teaching, coaching, consulting, and mentoring functions of clinical supervisors. Supervision, like substance abuse counseling, is a profession in its own right, with its own theories, practices, and standards. The profession requires knowledgeable, competent, and skillful individuals who are appropriately credentialed both as counselors and supervisors.