What Constitutes a Well-Trained Supervisor?

Kathleen Mills of PracticeMentors.us

This Week's Poll

A recent PM poll asked who you thought was the most qualified to train the next generation of counselors and, "a well-trained supervisor" was the overwhelming choice. Upon reflection I began to ask myself just exactly what is it that constitutes a well-trained supervisor?

Having done this for over 30 years now, I divide the content of my profession into two buckets: professional development and everything else having to do with running my practice and keeping me, my family and my practice safe. I call that, "Practice Development".

Defining Professional Development

"Professional Development" is the basket that includes all of the clinical knowledge that we need to know to see and treat clients. The fun stuff! Everything else falls in the second basket and that is where I believe we're failing our Associates in their training.

They're simply not getting that second basket of information in the academic setting. Even academia acknowledges that. That leaves their supervisor as their last chance for exposure to this information before we push them out of the nest. That's a big part of the reason we've decided to offer a new workshop starting in early 2022 for those counselors wishing to acquire their supervisory designation. More on that in an upcoming post.

What Constitutes a Well-Trained Supervisor?

With that, here's my characterization of a well-rounded training supervisor and I'd love to hear your detailed input in the comments below.

A Desire to "Pay it Forward"

Money is a wonderful thing, it pays a lot of bills. But the truth is you won't make as much training associates as you could seeing clients so your primary reason for being someone's supervisor needs to be a strong desire to help the next-gen, not additional revenue.

3+ Years of Practice Operation

Not talking about the 5-year waiting period. I mean that a Supervisor needs to have run a practice of their own before telling others how to do it. Can't teach what you don't know. Wisdom comes with experience.

Teaches Professional Development PLUS Practice Development

Love me some professional development ce's but the information that will keep you out of trouble, out of the courts, and out of Austin is the Practice Development material. A well-rounded supervisor will be well-versed in the following categories of material:

  • State Requirements
  • Business Start-Up and Operations
  • Practice Marketing
  • Practice Management Platforms
  • Federal Compliance
  • Business Development

Teaches From a Specific, Focused Plan

If I'm a recent grad/Associate I'm looking for a Supervisor that teaches both Professional and Practice Development. I want someone who has the next year or two of the education I'm paying for all planned out. "Show me the curriculum!"


I'm not bashing academia but our grads aren't getting the Practice Development training they need in school so their Supervisor is their last stop. We believe a well-rounded Supervisor offers that material in addition to Professional Development training and I don't think there are enough Supervisors out there that are doing that. Yet. In order to do our part to change that we're offering Supervisor training starting in early 2022 and we'll talk more about that probably next week. Your thoughts?

Plan Smart. Be Safe. Serve Others.

Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP

Well-Trained Supervisor | PracticeMentors

Got An Opinion?

These posts are my beliefs based on a) almost 30 year practice as a mental health provider and b) my own research. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave your civil, constructive comments below. I try very hard to back up my liberty-based statements with my own experience and/or verifiable facts and I would ask you to do the same. You do not need to be logged in to leave a comment.

About Kathleen Mills

Kathleen Mills is a fire-breathing, 30+ year veteran of the counseling world. A tireless warrior for the profession, her goal with PracticeMentors.us is to bullet-proof the counseling profession so that what happened to her doesn't happen to you!

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