I’ve been providing supervision to marriage and family therapy candidates for licensure since 2007. At first, I spent a couple of years becoming an AAMFT approved supervisor, where I had to attend 30 hours of training, then meet with my own supervisor for two years. In our industry, we call those meetings “sup of sup” (pronounced: soop of soop).
So I had a supervisor who was supervising me supervising students. Then I had to write a paper. And THEN, I was done.
Then I started supervising candidates for licensure. Then I took a break. And then, I started supervising again.
I thought I would just take two, maybe three, since I was going to school and working full-time. But somewhere along the way, I picked up a fourth, then a fifth. But then one was driving from Stillwater and she finally got to have supervision there, so I said goodbye to her. Then I took a supervisee who only needed one session a month (she was almost finished), and…then another one.
There are six in all and I work with them on a weekly basis. We generally meet at my house in our upstairs bonus room. It’s quiet, there is seating and a white board, and a stack of blankets for those supervisees who are cold-natured. At least half of them are cold-natured. Oh, and a box of Kleenexes. Every once in a while someone has to let out a few tears. We’re therapists, after all…and some of the stories we hear are very sad and occasionally there’s no place else for that sadness to go but out of our tear ducts.
Although we meet in varying configurations to comply with their hours requirements (individually, co-sup, or group), we have “big group” once every four weeks. And, tonight was “big group night.”
Big group is the one time when all those working on their licensure in the varying configurations come together. There are seven in the room, and sometimes it feels like “family night” to me.
I’ve never written about supervising because frankly, I thought I was supposed to keep my supervisees’ identities a secret. I thought I was bound by the regular confidentiality clause to not only keep their cases privileged, but also their identities. I thought that because of this clause:
Supervisors do not disclose supervisee confidences except in limited circumstances as described in the AAMFT Code of Ethics.
So, tonight, when I told the group I was writing daily during the month of September, I asked them if they would be willing to waive the confidentiality of their identities so I could post a group picture of them. This query was met with some comments along the lines of, “Uh – I don’t think you have to keep our identities confidential. I mean, we all have to be supervised for licensure right?” Murmurs of “yeah, that’s probably correct, uh – I don’t care! no problem…” moved around the group.
So, then they got a little silly…and started making jokes about posting their photo with pixelated faces.
And then they decided to pose, but have one turn around as if she was the one supervises who wasn’t really okay with being identified. So then then we laughed and said “maybe I should pixelate her butt.”
And then I took about five pictures of them with promises to e-mail them a copy. As I was clicking the photos I wondered how many conversations I have had where I kept the identity of all my supervisees confidential.
Then I laughed because they were being goofy.
Then they left, and I got to work on this post so I could get done before midnight.
Then I pixelated their faces and e-mailed them the photo with a really big grin on my face with the subject line, “HA HA HA HA HA!”
Then I thought, “I really love seeing my supervisees grow. I love how they change over the course of 2+ years.” I thought about how I’m going to miss them when they’re done…
Then I decided to run upstairs and grab the Kleenex box.