Supervisor Spotlight: Shayla Peterson

Shayla Peterson, LCSW, LISW-CP is a licensed therapist with over 17 years of clinical experience, who is credentialed in four states: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

A two-time graduate of California State University, Long Beach (Shayla earned both a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree there), she shares what many of us in the field can relate to: that she always knew she wanted to become a therapist. 

“After completing my undergraduate studies, I started working for a local therapeutic foster family agency,” Shayla says. “The year between undergraduate and graduate school allowed me to gain work experience in the field and started the grooming process by working with other Master’s-level and licensed therapists. I was drawn to the process of developing therapeutic relationships, introducing coping skills, and fostering change in clients.”  

Helping The Burnout Generation

Throughout her career journey, Shayla has worked not only with children and their families in the foster care system, but within the juvenile justice system, with veterans, military families, seniors and young professional women.         

Shayla’s clinical specialty is helping clients work on anxiety and stress, cultivating work life balance and burnout in millennial women.  

“I decided to work with this dynamic and vibrant group of women because they are most affected by anxiety in this day and time. They have been labeled as the ‘Burnout Generation,’” Shayla explains.  

As a supervisor, Shayla highlights vulnerability, leadership and support as key tenets to the supervisory experience. 

“It’s important that a supervisee can come into supervision and discuss their area of needs, as well as their strengths. If someone can’t talk about how they made a mistake in session, it’s going to be hard to foster a space of growth and learning new tools to prevent future mistakes,” she says. 

She also places a strong value on developing therapists’ skill sets to extend themselves to work not just in the therapy room, but also in the community through volunteerism and advocacy. The most important value, however, is that supervision be a supportive space. This support can help mitigate the stress of being new to the field or learning a new skill.  

“Clinical supervision is more than just passing an exam, it is about the opportunity to practice the tools, discover your therapeutic orientation, and learn about oneself in the process.”  

Slow & Steady Progress

The best piece of advice Shayla remembers receiving when she was in supervision came from a professor, who would share this quote every time we met for class: “The life of social worker is like a turtle, we are hard on the outside, soft on the inside and when we stick out neck out, we make progress.” We were always challenged to stick our necks out for what was right, even if the progress was slow. 

In terms of countertransference work, Shayla displays her strengths-based approach, sharing how beneficial countertransference can be in the supervision process. “The more awareness the therapist has of their countertransference, the more effective that therapist can be in the therapeutic setting,” she says. Shayla encourages her supervisees to look at their own countertransference, learning to recognize it when it arises, noticing any defenses that pop up and then how to reflect and reach for tools that can reduce the feelings in the moment. 

Go-to tools Shayla shares with her supervisees include Therapist Aid worksheets and books and research resources. “Where to Start and What to Ask” by Susan Lukas is a book she used early in her career, as well as Wiley Treatment Planners

“Learning how to develop a treatment plan with your client can be a learning process,” shes says. “Having access to a treatment planner with many options can help with guiding the part of the session.”

Shayla recommends the following social media accounts that she receives inspiration from: @sitwithwhit, @blackgirlsinsocialwork, @drjensf, @manickathomas.

Shayla also runs a follow-worthy, inspirational, mental wellness account on Instagram  @ctrlshiftbalance and Facebook

As a therapist who loves incorporating technology into psychotherapy, Shayla was fascinated by how Motivo could be a liaison between the supervisee or supervisor. “I understand how challenging it is for supervisees to find competent and affordable supervisors,” she says. “Motivo is helping meet the need of the supervisee seeking quality supervision and the supervisor to share their clinical knowledge.”

Think Shayla might be the perfect supervisor for you?

We’d love to introduce you to Shayla 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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