Supervision is an essential part of being a good therapist. It's a time to gain perspective on what may be a reactive, intuitive and sometimes overwhelming process and transform it into a well conceptualized, empathic and intentional one. Much like a good therapy process, this takes time, empathy (for both therapist and patient), exploration and formulation. As I do with my therapy patients, I consider this a collaboration where each of us brings different and useful experiences to the work together. I find it a dynamic and exciting process of translating my experience into concepts and processes usable to my supervisee.
I supervise colleagues at all levels of experience and types of training. Currently, I supervise one or more psychiatry residents at the Medical College of Wisconsin in addition to doing private supervision. I generally encourage presenting one or more cases repeatedly over time. This allows for a developing understanding of how a patient's history, life today and presentation in a session communicate aspects of the patient. It also allows us to appreciate the therapist's style and the dynamic with each patient. From these we conceptualize key issues to focus on and how to intervene. A patient's response provides feedback and clarifies what the therapy should focus on next. It's a really wonderful process to see a patient change over time and the therapist, in turn, gain confidence in her/his/their work together.