Congratulations! If you are searching for a LCSW Supervisor, that means that you have decided to further explore and expand your clinical knowledge base in the wonderful world of Social Work. Pursuing LCSW is a huge step in your professional development that should not be taken lightly. This journey is one that will require dedication, challenging work and financial responsibilities to fund. Many times, the journey toward becoming a LCSW is primarily preoccupied with taking the licensure exam. However, perhaps one of the most important decisions you make in preparation for licensure, is finding the right Supervisor to guide you on your journey.
Your Budget If you have started your search, you have likely come to learn that LCSW Supervision can be costly. Look at your income and determine what can you afford to spend on your supervision. Depending on the LCSW Supervisor, you will find a wide fee range in terms of cost per hour. I have seen costs range from $25 per hour to $150 per hour. My best advice to potential supervisees to SHOP AROUND! Your LCSW Supervision is not only an educational pursuit, but a business transaction and business investment. Inevitability, in your search you will run into LCSW Supervisors that charge above what you can afford. That is okay. If that Supervisor is not willing to negotiate their prices, keep searching. You will find a Supervisor with a price range that fits your budget.
Investigate whether your current employer would be interested in funding your educational pursuits (and pay for your supervision). Typically, if your agency will pay for your supervision, this comes with strings attached. In exchange for paying for your supervision, agencies usually desire you fulfill a contractual obligation to remain with the company for so many months/years following your completion of the LCSW program/licensure. I encourage you to discuss potential contractual obligations more in depth with your employer, if this is a route you desire to take. Another option to consider, is to investigate if there is a present LCSW Supervisor at your agency. If there is, and that Supervisor has opening slots, your supervisor may be extended to you at no cost.
Personality & Background of the Supervisor
A good practice I recommend to others is to search for LCSW Supervisors that specialize in areas or populations that are of interest to you. If opening a private practice is a primary goal for you as an LCSW, you may want to consider conducting your supervision under a LCSW who operates a private practice so that learning about that area may be incorporated into your educational plans. Likewise, if working with trauma survivors is an area you want to grow, locating a LCSW Supervisor that has professional employment experience or certifications in Trauma Informed Care would be a great idea. Your LCSW Supervisor should be open with you about their education and employment background. Your Supervisors background may be helpful information for you to consider when making the final decision on a pick.
Getting recommendations on LCSW Supervisors by word of mouth is also another great idea. Talk to other LCSWs and get recommendations on who they used for a supervisor. Pick your colleagues brain about their experiences and challenges while in supervision. This will no doubt help you become more familiar as to what to expect moving forward.
Is this the Right Time?
Asking yourself “Is this the right time?” is perhaps one of the most important questions you should ask yourself before making the decision to pursue LCSW. In the State of Mississippi, LCSW Supervision takes about 24 months (minimum) to complete. Asking yourself if you have the required time and energy to dedicate to this process is very important. The journey toward LCSW requires YOU to be an active participant. The process of supervision encourages that you be open to talking about yourself, your family of origin, and assumptions and biases that you bring to this work. This may create some discomfort for you arising from challenges to your clinical knowledge, abilities, assumptions and or skills. Supervision is often formatted with oral case presentations, role playing, interactive and expressive modalities, discussions of challenges and countertransference, cultural issues and biases, and personal challenges that arise in response to clients and or agency issues. Sounds like a lot of challenging work, huh? Well, it is. Pursuing LCSW Supervision during a time of balance in your life is something I highly recommend. Now, that does not mean that barriers and obstacles will not come up on your journey. We cannot foresee the future and life will happen….you may change employers, loose loved ones, get married, experience new additions to your family etc. These life changes can impact your Supervision experience. However, having the right LCSW Supervisor will help ensure that despite these changes your supervision can continue to develop as smooth as possible.
Changing LCSW Supervisors
Perhaps one of the biggest misfortunes you can experience is having to change LCSW Supervisors in the middle of your journey. Now, there maybe unavoidable situations that can lead to having to change Supervisors…illness, moving, income changes etc. However, there are other issues that may arise that may make it difficult for you to make your weekly supervision changes. Perhaps you come to find that do not like the personality or teaching style of your supervisor….Or you picked a Supervisor that resides very far away and traveling for weekly meetings becomes difficult. In rural areas access to a LCSW Supervisor is more difficult. It is not uncommon that LMSWs residing in rural areas resort to having to travel a considerable distance to meet their LCSW Supervisors (many reside in more metro areas). While many can withstand the travel obligations, for some this can be too much to deal with over time.
Changing LCSW Supervisors is also undesirable because it can take away your valuable time and energy to terminate your current relationship and to initiate another. There is paperwork and that needs to be filed to both terminate your current Supervision relationship and to start a new Supervision relationship. All of this documentation must be reviewed and approved by your State Licensure Board. All of these efforts result in making your supervisor experience longer than initially necessary.
Personality & Background of the Supervisor
In summary, I hope you find these recommendations and tips most beneficial in your search for a LCSW Supervisor. The bottom line is that investing in a diligent search prior to your selection is key and will help minimize any possible complications and setbacks.