Reply To: Week 1 Homework Assignment (Ethical Issues in Clinical Supervision)

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Nichole Gulowsen
Participant

Question 1: What is it like for you to know that you have taken or might take on the duty and responsibility of vicarious liability as a clinical supervisor?

Honestly, the idea that I am accepting responsibility for the actions and inactions of others that I supervise is scary. I attempt to hold myself to a relatively high standard when it comes to ethics (thanks to an amazing supervisor I had in the past who also prided herself on ethics) and while I may advise a supervisee to take certain action, there is no guarantee at the end of the day they are going to follow said advice (i.e., inaction); that is kind of a scary thought.

Question 2: Describe 3 strategies you have already employed or have thought about employing to manage this sense of responsibility so it doesn’t impact your clinical and supervisory work negatively and/or does impact your work in a positive way?

(1) “document, document, document” – this was a mantra instilled in me during my school years! As noted above, while I may advise a supervisee to take certain action, they may decide otherwise and that is where, I feel, documentation is key in that if something should transpire as a result of their inappropriate actions or inaction, I have documentation of what I recommended. (2) “supervision of the supervision” – this was something mentioned in the lesson materials. While I perhaps do not do this as consistently as I should, I have on several occasions sought the opinions of others RE: recommendations I have made or am thinking of making. (3) I honestly cannot think of a third strategy that I employ to manage this ‘sense of responsibility’ aside from maybe ensuring I engage in appropriate self-care?

Question 3: How does your agency support/not support you to manage the legal and ethical responsibility of vicarious liability and how can you advocate for more support if it is lacking?

I am actually in private practice and currently sub-contract with an agency to provide supervision to their case managers. As a sub-contractor, there is little to no support from the agency as far as managing legal and/or ethical responsibilities of vicarious liability, which is another reason why I emphasize documentation …. as well as possessing liability insurance coverage! ????