Motivo Supervisors Dr. Carla Smith, Terrell Frazier and Ansley Campbell
At Motivo we are committed to improving connection and increasing access to great supervisors through innovative solutions. A theme we’ve noticed that comes up regularly from both new and experienced clinicians is how to work through imposter syndrome, so we rounded up some of the best advice we’ve heard so far from our supervision staff:
Find a Supervisor You Feel Comfortable With
A supervisory relationship that does not enhance a therapist’s confidence in themselves will inevitably feed imposter syndrome. Supervision from an employer can have a punitive feel if the therapist asks questions they “should already know the answer to.” This can discourage supervisees from sharing their struggles with confidence in their abilities. It can also keep them from sharing that certain skills need attention or growth.
Invest in the Long Run
New therapists who feel like imposters can easily turn into seasoned therapists who feel like imposters, if they never address the issue. If you don’t feel like you can turn to your employment supervisor with your insecurities, seriously consider supplementing that supervision with someone whose style fits your needs. It may only need to be an hour or two a month, but do it! Consider it an investment in yourself for the long run.
Go to as many trainings as you can! Go beyond your set number of CEUs! When you keep honing your skills, stay current with the latest research and new interventions, you build not only expertise in your niche, but also confidence overall.
You’re Never Too Experienced for Great Supervision
When I became the Clinical Supervisor of Addiction for a community service board, I thought I hit the big time. At the same time, I also thought I was an imposter and did not have the skills to take on this large role and responsibility.
Even as a Clinical Supervisor, I knew I needed my own supervision still. I found a great clinical director who helped me navigate obstacles and acted as a reflective sounding board. She helped me gain confidence to grow in my role and take chances on implementing new ideas.
Reframe Your Professional Narrative
While I trusted and relied on the guidance of my supervisor, I also learned to trust my own instincts. I realized I already had the tools I needed for the job inside of me. I wasn’t an imposter! I was a diamond in the rough who just needed a little polish.
Trust the Feedback
I remember feeling like an imposter on many occasions my first few years of practice. Sure, I was new and still had a lot to learn, but I was also hard on myself. My supervisors reminded me that I wasn’t incompetent and regularly pointed out my strengths. I needed to trust they saw skills in me I wasn’t always sure I had.
Look for a Group
When you are a new therapist, you have just come out of an academic program, but it’s different than working in the “real world” and there really is still a lot to learn. I think it’s so important to work in some type of group setting during the early years. It creates a sense of community and gives opportunities to both learn from and help your peers.
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