Jeanine Rousso is a licensed professional counselor who partners with Motivo to provide online clinical supervision for therapists seeking licensure in Florida and Georgia. In this interview, she explains how her unique background and philosophy make her an outstanding supervisor.
While Jeanine is now based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, her education has spanned across the South. She has a BS in Sociology from Clemson University, an MS in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Tennessee, and her MEd in School Counseling from Georgia State University. She has her LPC in Georgia, LMHC in Florida, CPCS in GA, QS in Florida, and RPT-S.
What she likes about providing supervision through Motivo is the ability to connect with more therapists in different areas of Georgia and Florida. “I live in a pretty remote place, so there are not a lot of counselors looking for supervision in my area,” she explains. “I also love that I can be flexible with where I’m providing supervision from. It’s been so convenient to just login from anywhere to have sessions.”
Jeanine discovered Motivo after connecting with one of our “Motivators” Julie Black through LinkedIn. “She reached out to let me know about Motivo, and I was looking to increase the supervision I was doing,” Jeanine said. “It seemed like a great thing to try so I filled out all of the information. It took some time to get supervisees, but now that I’m rolling, I’m grateful I connected with Julie!”
Doing therapy or supervision via video calls wasn’t Jeanine’s favorite idea. A few years back, she decided to relocate and offered to give video conference sessions a try with some young teens clients.
“It was a total bust. The lack of interaction just felt weird. So it left a bad taste in my mouth,” she explains. But years later, she decided to dip her toe back in, out of necessity. It was just another step for a career dedicated to finding creative ways to help others.
“I wanted to do more supervision,” she says. But scheduling was always an issue, until she heard about Motivo. “I decided to give it a shot! My first session with my first two clinicians were a little strange. We all felt a bit uncomfortable. But I’m glad we stuck with it because soon enough we felt totally comfortable and had built great rapport. It has honestly changed the way I’m thinking about my career.”
A fun fact about working with Jeanine: Dave, a grayish-brown tabby often joins her for supervision sessions. He climbs around Jeanine and steals some snuggles before trotting off.
But the clinician receiving supervision from Jeanine can’t get in on the snuggling, since they are getting their session via Motivo’s video conference for supervision!
Jeanine’s nurturing side blossomed during her adolescence, when she discovered a love for working with kids. From babysitting to camp counseling, Jeanine adored being around children and knew her career would be focused on helping young people.
So when she realized that her graduate program in Child and Family Studies had become a program solely devoted to turning out researchers, she went on the hunt to find something more hands-on. Some students in one of her classes were in the Mental Health Counseling programming, so after a little digging, she made the switch. And she’s so glad she did.
“I’ve bounced back and forth between working in schools and private practice, but now I’m definitely in private practice for the long haul,” says Jeanine, who, true to her vision, works solely with children, teens and their parents. “I love watching the kids and make progress over time. It is unbelievably rewarding.”
Jeanine, registered with the Association of Play Therapy since 2013, implements play and creative measures during most of her sessions. As the only Play Therapist in her county, she has a busy schedule and a big variety of clients.
“These kids have turmoil going on in their life, but developmentally, they just aren’t going to be able to put their feet up and tell a therapist all about their problems and feelings,” Jeanine explains. “But they sure do express a lot through play. So I just love that I’m able to provide that opportunity for kids and maybe give them some peace and relief in their life.”
And as a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, so she can also help clinicians become Play Therapists, something that excites her since she is paying forward the life-changing experience she had with a supervisor.
It took Jeanine a few years to get started in supervision, because in Georgia, at the time, you needed a job, a director and a supervisor in order to get a license, but it was also hard to get a job without a license. So for a few years, she bounced around to different grant-funded positions, even spending a period working with Katrina evacuees, before getting a school-based counseling job.
“I called around to ask for suggestions on who to go to for supervision. I ended up finding this amazing woman who was gentle, kind, earthy, lovely and full of knowledge. I stuck with her the whole time I needed supervision.” This supervisor also introduced Jeanine to Play Therapy.
“The best thing I got out of it was having the door opened for me to do Play Therapy. It was not something I learned about in grad school and when she started telling me more and more about it, I got really interested. She lent me VHS tapes with Play Therapy trainings. That’s how long ago this was!” Jeanine laughs at the dated reference.
“She was great because there wasn’t any judgement at all,” Jeanine recalls. “When I’d come in and feel like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. I screwed this up royally’ she was there for me, with kindness. She would simply say, ‘OK. So you don’t feel you made the best choice. What could you have done differently?’”
Jeanine tries to emulate that non-judgement and compassion now that she’s on the other side of supervision. “I try to accept clinicians where they are. Because there is a developmental path that therapists go on,” she explains.
Also, being available is a priority to Jeanine. She encourages her clinicians to reach out to if there is a crisis between supervision sessions. “I don’t want them to make a decision they regret. We are dealing with people’s lives here,” she emphasizes. “Most of the time, the clinicians DO know what they need to do. But they aren’t confident enough yet to do it, nor should they be. They need to get feedback on challenging situations. And confidence will come with practice.”
Jeanine also makes humor and lightheartedness a priority in her sessions. “What we do is so serious, so I try to balance it with humor and play, which helps us relate. We need to have a laugh sometimes!” insists Jeanine. She also keeps in mind that these new clinicians are balancing family commitments and sometimes multiple jobs. So she makes a point in every session to touch on their self care.
“I also share what I’m doing for self care. I recently had some health stuff going on. And I was open with my clinicians about that, so they could learn what it looks like to juggle being a therapist with being a human.”
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