Supervisor Spotlight: Amy Kaplan

Supervisor-LCSW-Oregon-Amy-Kaplan

I view the supervisory relationship as a true partnership. A partnership of trust, learning and support.

Amy Kaplan is a licensed clinical social worker based in the state of Oregon (and the first Oregonian to offer supervision on Motivo!) who also holds a license in California. Amy runs a private practice, serving her clients predominantly online, with a focus on trauma recovery utilizing EMDR

For Amy, it was a Psychology 101 class during her undergrad days at Penn State University that incited her passion for the mind and how brains process emotions. “That passion,” she remembers, “combined with the love of helping others, led me on my journey to become a therapist.” She chose social work specifically because she liked the combination of counseling, social service, casework and research that a career in social work involves. 

Amy went on to earn her Master’s in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. She became licensed in California in 2000, and obtained another license to practice in Oregon in 2017, after relocating to Portland.  

Today, she runs a successful psychotherapy practice called Talk It Out Oregon, where she specializes in the treatment of depression, relationship issues, major life changes and trauma. As an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)trained clinician, she works from a “dual attunement” perspective, which she defines as being “present with my clients on an emotional level as well as being aware of how emotions are processed and experienced through the brain.”

Additionally, Amy has been an early adopter of using technology to provide therapeutic services and supervision. “I love doing online work!” she says, noting that she sees most of her patients through online therapy.

The Top Three

As a supervisor, Amy is focused on competence, collaboration and maintaining an ethical practice. She defines what these top 3 values mean to her: 

Competence
This relates to both the supervisor and supervisee; supporting and encouraging learning; assessing social work competencies at beginning of supervision and throughout; being self aware of own competence areas and knowing how to give supervisee resources he or she needs if subjects discussed are out of the supervisors scope of competence; keeping up to date on current supervision and licensing requirements.

Collaboration
This begins with supervisor/supervisee relationship; having clear roles, expectations and a relationship of support and trust; through this relationship and collaboration, the supervisee grows.

Ethical Practice
This means being current in legal and ethical issues in the field, modeling ethical work; ensuring adherence to ethical and legal requirements; highest priority is duty to the client , balancing the responsibility of training the supervisee while maintaining clarity about duty to protect client safety.  

‘You Will Have to Work Twice as Hard’

As a supervisor, Amy notes how important it is to ask the right questions, while also to providing a supportive environment for the supervisee so that he or she feels comfortable bringing up countertransference or other challenges as they arise.  

“I think countertransference and self of the therapist issues are common when one begins the journey of becoming a therapist,” Amy says. “It is a natural process that a trainee can learn and professionally grow from when addressed during clinical  supervision.”

Amy also remembers a very impactful piece of advice she received during her first professional internship. Which, upon reflection, was “actually not so much advice, but more of a veiled warning.” 

“During graduate school, at the age of 23, I was an intern at a foster care agency,” Amy says, “My supervisor at the time said to me, ‘You will have to work twice as hard to get my patients to respect you because you look so young.’ This piece of advice was difficult to hear and really stuck with me for many years. But instead of causing me to question myself, that comment motivated me to do good work, present myself well and prove my skills to both patients and co-workers. It was also a lesson for me in how a supervisor’s comment, even one in passing, can really impact your supervisees’ work and how they feel about themselves.”

Since that time, as Amy’s hard work has led her up the ranks to positions of Director and Manager in the field. Now her primary focus is private practice and clinical supervision.  She prioritizes making a constant effort to be encouraging of supervisees, framing feedback in a positive way and always honoring the supervisor/supervisee relationship with kindness and support.  

Trained in somatic and attachment theory, Amy applies this knowledge to help not only her clients but supervisees as well. “When it comes to countertransference,” she explains. “I work with my supervisees to learn how to recognize signs of countertransference in themselves not only through their thoughts about the client session, but somatically, meaning, being attuned to how they are feeling and where they are feeling countertransference in their body. For example, do they feel a tightness in their chest or pressure in their head?” She unpacks body and mind with her supervisee. 

For more resources and support, some sites Amy suggests for supervisees to reference are Psychotherapy.net and Therapistaid.com

She also recommends any work by Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR. “Her books and literature on trauma work, and specifically how trauma is processed in the brain, really resonates with me and has had a profound influence on my therapy practice,” Amy says. 

Why Online? 

Amy views the supervisory relationship as a true partnership, based on trust, learning and support. She is dedicated to maintaining those standards and sees online supervision as a natural place to not only develop a partnership, but also to develop the right partnership for new clinicians. 

“Online supervison is a fantastic idea because it gives supervisees more freedom of choice in who they want to work with since they are not bound by driving distance or exorbitant hourly fees. Online supervision makes access to the right supervisor possible.”

She also sees this as an obvious next step in the world of mental health care. “As the world of online therapy continues to become more prevalent with health companies, insurance providers and those in private practice, it makes sense that clinical supervision goes online too.”

You can find Amy on her professional Facebook page, Online Therapy Resource Page with Amy Kaplan, LCSW or through her private practice site.

Think Amy might be the perfect supervisor for you?

We’d love to introduce you to Amy through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue holds a Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She works as a limited permit therapist at a private practice in Brooklyn, earning her clinical and supervision hours for full licensure. She has a special interest in women and alcohol use and her dream is to meet Irvin Yalom one day.

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