In Behavioral Health, Clinical Supervision, Practice Guidelines, Recovery, Substance Use Disorder, Technical Assistance Publications (TAPS) Series, Treatment, Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIPS) Series

Becoming a Clinical Supervisor: TIPs and TAPs and Trainings Galore!

Becoming a Clinical Supervisor: TIPs and TAPs and
Trainings Galore!

If you are a behavioral health provider who has ever thought about becoming a clinical supervisor for substance abuse counselors, this post should have some great information about what clinical supervision is, the purpose of clinical supervision, some of the goals of clinical supervision, and some of the roles and responsibilities of a clinical supervisor. In addition, you will know about a number of resources that can help you to learn more and to become a clinical supervisor.

One excellent way to find out more about clinical supervision is to access the powerpoint presentation Clinical Supervision Foundations developed by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network. This is an online course for supervisors and behavioral health professionals who want to become supervisors in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery settings. The course totals 30 contact hours with two components: an online course and a face-to-face training. Some of the topics covered in the course are:

What is Clinical Supervision?

The course definition of clinical supervision is “Clinical Supervision is a social influence process that occurs over time, in which the supervisor participates with supervisees to ensure quality care. Effective supervisors observe, mentor, coach, evaluate, inspire, and create an atmosphere that promotes self-motivation, learning, and professional development. They build teams, create cohesion, resolve conflict, and shape agency culture, while attending to ethical and diversity issues in all aspects of the process. Such supervision is key to both quality improvement and the successful implementation of consensus- and evidence-based practices” (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, TAP 21A, 2007). One of the important things that course participants learn are the supervisory goals of a clinical supervisor:

  • Promote professional growth
  • Protect the welfare of clients
  • Monitor counselor performance
  • Empower the counselor
  • Increase counselor skill development (ATTC, 2019)

The following are covered in detail during the ATTC course:

Clinical Supervisory Responsibilities –

  • Identify needs
  • Instruct
  • Model
  • Give Feedback
  • Consult with the Counselor

Roles of the Clinical Supervisor

  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Mentor
  • Evaluator
  • Consultant

Another important part of the ATTC course is the Clinical Supervision Foundations Part Two: Participant Workbook. To accommodate the need for supervisors to avoid being away from their worksites for too long, the face-to-face  component is used to cover the practical aspects of supervision and includes opportunities for skill practice, and the worksite component provides supervisors the opportunity to assess their own knowledge and skills and develop their own professional development plans. To Learn more about the availability of these workshops and trainings, visit the ATTC Network. Additional workshops and trainings for Nevada may be found at CASAT Training. An Advanced Clinical Supervision in-person 2-day training will be held on October 31-November 1, 2019 at the UNR Redfield Campus in Reno, Nevada. The presenter is Nick Tangeman, MSW, LADC, LADC-S. The key topics/concepts will be:

  • The scope of clinical supervision, the supervisory relationship
  • Applying theoretical models to clinical supervision
  • Observation formats and methods, how to review tapes
  • Counselor assessment and goal development, developing your own model
  • Cultural considerations, including agency culture considerations
  • Discussion/review of TAP 21A competencies
  • Requirements, regulations, and legal aspects of supervision
  • Social Media

The participants’ prerequisite is the 14-hour online Clinical Supervision Foundations workshop. An LADC must be an active LADC for two years prior to taking the supervisors course, and should apply to the Board for approval. A CADC must be an active CADC for three years prior to taking the supervisors course, and should apply to the Board for approval.

Clinical Supervision Resources

TAP 21-A: Competencies for Substance Abuse Treatment Clinical Supervisors lists competencies for effective supervision in substance use disorder treatment programs. It provides step-by-step guidance for implementing comprehensive supervisory training and workforce development.

Performance Assessment Rubrics Developed as a companion product to TAP 21. It describes counselor/clinician proficiency along a continuum marked by four distinct benchmark descriptions of counselor ability for each of the competencies. Such a continuum is referred to as a rubric. More will be said about the continuum later.

TIP 52: Clinical Supervision and Professional Development of the Substance Abuse Counselor offers tips for clinical supervisors in the substance use disorder treatment field. It covers functions of a clinical supervisor, and highlights stages of professional development for counselors and clinical supervisors.

TIP 61: Behavioral Health Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives provides behavioral health professionals with practical guidance about Native American history, historical trauma, and critical cultural perspectives in their work with American Indian and Alaska Native clients. The TIP discusses the demographics, social challenges, and behavioral health concerns of Native Americans. It highlights the importance of providers’ cultural awareness, cultural competence, and culture-specific knowledge. The TIP also helps administrators, program managers, and clinical supervisors foster a culturally responsive environment for American Indian and Alaska Native clients. Specific topic areas include workforce development strategies, program and professional development considerations, and culturally responsive policies and procedures.

ATTC products:

Motivational Interviewing Assessment: Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency (MIA:STEP) (Developed by Global ATTC) The MIA:STEP Blending Team designed empirically supported mentoring products to enhance the MI skills of treatment providers, as well as supervisory tools to fortify a supervisor’s ability to provide structured, focused, and effective clinical supervision. MIA:STEP introduces an effective strategy for observation-based clinical supervision, the use of which has potential to improve counselor skills beyond MI.

Clinical Supervision Foundations This course consists of two interconnected components: an online course and a face-to-face training, and is intended for supervisors in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery settings. The course totals 30 contact hours and introduces clinical supervisors, along with persons preparing to become supervisors, to the knowledge and skills essential to the practice of supervision.The Clinical Supervision Foundations course is especially suited for: Beginning clinical supervisors; Clinical Supervisors who would like to enhance or review the fundamental skills needed to be a successful clinical supervisor; Counselors who are being groomed to become clinical supervisors; and Behavioral healthcare professionals who want to learn more about clinical supervision.

Additional ATTC products can be found in the Products & Resources Catalog.

Books and articles for Further Reading on Clinical Supervision:

Bernard & Goodyear, B. (1998). Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision. (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Gallon, S. (2002) Clinical Supervision: Building Chemical Dependency Counselor Skills. Portland, OR: Northwest Frontier

Powell, D. & Brodsky, A. (2004). Clinical Supervision in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling: Principles, Models, Methods. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stoltenberg, C. D., & Delworth, U. (1987) Supervising Counselors and Therapists. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Stoltenberg, C. D., McNeil, B., & Delworth, U. (1998). IDM Supervision: An Integrated Developmental Model for Supervising

Counselors and Therapists. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA.

Models of Supervision. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 22, 2005:

Your turn! Please post your answers in our comments section:

For those who are already clinical supervisors, what motivated you to become a clinical supervisor? What are some of the rewards of being a clinical supervisor? What are some of the challenges? For those who are hoping to become a clinical supervisor, what is your main motivation for becoming one?

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