Has imposter syndrome hit you big time? Yeah, we have been there we know how that feels, you’re going into the supervision session second-guessing yourself. You’re thinking, “Will the therapist know that I’m new to this and nervous?”. Well, the good news is that they are nervous too.
Often times the therapist(s) is super nervous that you are there, come on you were once the one being supervised, surely you remember how nerve-wracking it was.
According to our ethical guidelines, we are to let the therapist know that you will be supervising them prior to the session. When you are scheduling your session with them you can calm their nerves by telling them you are there to update the program and not judge their teaching skills, (it’s mostly true!).
What Do You Do When You Supervise a Client?
When the session starts, just sit and observe for about 5 minutes. Don’t offer any corrective feedback. If anything, tell the therapist(s) that you’ve noticed improvement (be specific) – no matter how small. You can say something like, “I like the way you acknowledged their mand”. I was once speaking with a fellow BCBA at a conference and they were discussing some struggles they were having with one of their RBT’s. My first question was, “what are you doing to reinforce their behavior”, and their response to me left me shocked, they said, “they are an adult I shouldn’t have to reinforce them”. The lesson here is to always provide reinforcement, and I even ask my staff what is reinforcing to them, some say verbal praise, others say Starbucks gift cards.
Be sure to flip the binder. What you want to look for are programs that are not being run, and then find out why. Is it because they don’t know how to do them? Are they too complicated?
Then ask to see specific programs that are progressing well (and may need updates) and ones that have flatlined.
What About Feedback?
It’s okay to give feedback when necessary, and it’s best to use BST (Behavioral Skills Training) to give feedback. (You can check out our blog post on BST here). I want to make sure that I have paired myself with my supervisee prior to the session, if possible. I always like to remind them prior to the supervision session that I will probably give them feedback at the end. The people that I supervise know that I am not trying to boss them around. They know that I want to improve their skills and also help the client.
When introducing new programs- ALWAYS model the program for the therapist. We have a rule – if we as supervisors find it difficult to teach the program, then we can’t ethically recommend it to someone else to teach it – no matter how great the therapist maybe
Last but not least, ask the parents if they have any goals, this is a great time to find out items that you might be able to add to the client’s programming.
Be sure to check out our latest video where we discuss supervision.