As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I help therapists-in-training who are seeking MFT supervision to:

Marta’s Personal Supervision Model: 5 Things to Know

In order to provide quality care to clients, therapist must have a clear understanding of their own treatment model, ways that change occurs in this model, as well as how their treatment model is implemented. Correspondingly, a supervisor must attend to their own treatment model first in order to effectively guide other therapists.  My supervision model is directly affected by my treatment model in that they are both: systemic, humanistic, experiential, and attachment focused.

1) My Personal Treatment Model

My Personal Treatment Model is systemic, humanistic, and experiential in nature. Importantly, my model is based on an attachment theory emphasizing the need for secure bonds and connection. I believe that causality is circular and that our responses are shaped by feedback loops or cycles of interactions. Whether it is a couple or a family system, each family member constructs reality based on how the other member feels, thinks, and acts. That patterned relationship between a husband and a wife, or a child and a parent, creates repeating cycles of interaction that are inherently influenced by attachment theory. If these cycles of interactions become more rigid and narrow, the relationship becomes distressed.

In my Personal Treatment Model, I help clients interrupt negative cycles of interaction and teach them more adaptive patterns. The way I do that differs from traditional, systemic approaches. Instead of focusing on power, hierarchies, or boundaries, I focus on nurturance and connection. I believe that the safer we feel, the more confident we are in reaching out to others and dealing with conflict and stress positively.

2) My Personal Supervision Model

During supervision, my supervisees, their clients, and I construct our own cycles of interactions based on our past experiences, perceptions, emotional experiences, our action tendencies, and our powerful—yet often unacknowledged—desires for reassurance and acceptance. Therefore, whether I am a therapist or a supervisor, I work hard on having a strong alliance with those with whom I work. In order for clients or supervisees to work with me effectively, they must feel safe with me. The way I build safety is by creating an egalitarian and collaborative relationship where my clients and supervisees are “experts,” not me. However, when it comes to safety or ethical issues with my clients and supervisees, I am direct and in the role of an “expert.” Also, depending on my supervisee’s clinical developmental stage, I know there are  times when a hierarchical and direct attitude is advisable. It can help my supervisees grow clinically.

3) How Does Change Happen in My Personal Treatment Model?

In my Personal Treatment Model, experience is the basis of change, and change involves new experiences and new relationship events. Also, in my Personal Treatment Model, I see emotion as a target and agent of change. Emotion is key in organizing attachment behaviors and in organizing the way the self and others are experienced in relationships. Emotional experiences and expressions are very important because they guide and give information about meaning to perceptions and motives behind actions.

I believe in second order change. Helping clients with their first order change is not sufficient or lasting. Second order change happens when clients are able to change the organization of the system by being aware of the process of their interaction and how that process is organized into a pattern, and how that pattern keeps them limited.

4) How Does Change Happen in my Personal Supervision Model?

Similarly, my personal approach to supervision also calls for experiential interventions in order to create change. When appropriate during the supervisory process, I look for ways to create new experiences for supervisees that will guide them in becoming skillful and attuned therapists. These experiences can be more easily elicited during supervision if my supervisees present video recordings of their sessions, have life therapy sessions, or are willing to engage in role-plays.

In my Personal Treatment and Supervision Model, I am a process consultant. While working with clients, second order change is about helping clients become aware of their processes of interactions and how these create often-rigid behavior. While working with supervisees, second order change has to do with building the same awareness about processes between clients, their therapists, and their supervisors.

5) Process of Therapy & Process of Supervision

In my clinical work, I have noticed a pattern in how I organize my therapy sessions and conceptualize my cases. That pattern can be explained in the following steps. Parallel patterns exist in my Personal Supervision Model: