When seeking out a supervisor, it’s important to consider the total package of the situation. The top two factors and concerns with supervision in private practice are understandably:
- Where you can find such supervisors
- What are agreeable fee splits or financial agreements
First, I’m going to cover the six main ways you can find a supervisor for private (or group) practice:
1. The good news is you can find private practice supervisors through the colleagues you already know or have somewhat of a connection to! Think about the more seasoned therapists and early career ones and ask if they know of anybody. Somebody may know somebody who knows somebody–consider this your mantra for finding a supervisor. Connections through the relationships you already have are one of the most effective ways to find someone. Because people tend to trust others they already know, going this route can be a win win for both supervisor and supervisee.
Finding someone through networking efforts also allows you to find out more about the potential supervisor and vice versa. You can talk with your friends who are in school or post graduation, colleagues you know in the field and people you currently work with or have in the past. Really anyone who knows other therapists is a good person to ask. Leave no leaf unturned! If you’re worried about pestering people, please take a second and check that at the door. We’re in the helping profession so most people you know in our field would be happy to connect you to someone they know who could help you. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask!
2. You can also find private practice supervisors through the graduate school you went to. Ask professors and administrative staff if they know of anybody. Start up conversations with professors and let them know what your goals are and see if they have ideas for potential private or group practice supervisors. Some professors hire on students to work with them in their practices. Even if they don’t, they’re usually well-networked within the area, therefore they may be aware of supervisors looking for a pre-licensed therapist to work with.
3. Local universities with counseling or clinical departments are another good source. So, after you’ve scoured through the people you know from your graduate school, move on to the universities in your local geographical area. Who are the program directors and professors? Who is the clinical director? Seek out names and contact information. Usually this can be found on a school or departmental web site. Email and call them. I’d shoot for contacting every university with a clinical dept. that’s within a 50-mile radius of where you live and work.
4. Likewise, local psychoanalytic institutes can be an incredibly rich source of potential supervisors. In order to become a certified analyst, students in these institutes earn a doctorate in the process of doing a lot of supervision and consultation in addition to their courses. They also go through their own analysis, so they’re not only thoroughly acquainted with the therapeutic process as a client, but they’re also intimately in tune with perceiving transference and countertransference, two important phenomenon to learn about and process in supervision. These therapists receive the highest and most rigorous clinical training ground possible which also makes them highly sought after and more than capable of providing effective supervision for private practice.
5. Getting involved with your local and/or state professional associations also reaps many rewards, one being connections you can make that could lead to finding your next private practice supervisor. Since these groups are filled with clinicians in your geographical area, attending these events introduces you to more potential supervisors. I recommend going to some of their meetings/trainings and simply talk to the people there. As you get to know people in the meetings you can ask about the potential for supervision or leads. These groups can also be really informative and help you stay abreast of trends and advances in the therapy world. Plus, advocacy for the profession is always in need, and it’s a good platform to help get your name and potential practice out there. Going to meetings hosted by organizations like CAMFT, AAMFT, etc., bring you in contact with clinicians in private and group practices, so these are valuable relationships to foster.
6. We all know social media has become one of the top ways to get recommendations, so platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are also good places to find a potential supervisor. Social media brings together people you know and don’t know, which can be a powerful combination to find what you’re looking for. The idea that somebody may know somebody who knows someone is the most true on social media where you’re instantly connected to hundreds if not thousands of people. The best social media for this kind of search are therapist-specific Facebook groups. Nowadays, these groups are regularly being used by therapists to find other colleagues to refer to. In fact, as a side note, I created one for my geographical area, Inland Empire Shrinks.
7. Last but not least, cold calling therapists in your area is another option. As hesitant as you may be about this, you can literally start calling clinicians you find through Psychology Today or a Google search in your city and state. You can introduce yourself and let them know what you’re seeking. Getting a contact email is the goal so you can follow up and send them your resume and cover letter, along with a couple of powerful items called the Revenue-Generation Plan and Marketing Plan that I’ll explain further in another blog.
Up next, how to create an elevator pitch to summarize who you are to potential supervisors. And then I’ll cover fee splits and pay in private practice while you’re pre-licensed.
Tyra Butler is a licensed therapist and helps pre-, provisionally-licensed and early career therapists navigate the maze of licensure and advance in their careers. She offers consultation for important career moves, supports the emotional development of therapists, and as a professional writer provides copywriting coaching for web site and marketing content. Don’t miss out on signing up for her email list where she delivers exclusive content, including blogs, motivational and inspirational pieces, and must-know industry facts. Sign up for her list here. She’s also the founder of the Facebook group Early Career Clinician Community where she gives some of her best tips and inspiration to succeed on the road to licensure. Tyra has been in private practice for 10 years, with 15 years in mental health, business and professional copywriting.