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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? It’s a huge amount of added responsibility but also a risk that I’m aware I’m taking on, in order to best serve my supervisee and their clients. I also feel anxiety around that, but try to keep in mind that the vicarious liability responsibility comes as an expectation with the extra experience and training needed to be a clinical supervisor and it keeps me from taking the task lightly. Understanding the importance of vicarious liability is something I can model for my supervisees to help them realize the gravity of their own liability for clients.
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) I currently request a supervisees who have had issues or need greater oversight to complete more thorough paperwork in terms of a supervisee agenda prior to our meeting, so that they prepare with greater care and organization and I have access to more details about their cases.
2) I encourage master’s level interns to videotape sessions when consent is given in order to provide greater in the moment supervision and assess for issues.
3) I engage in peer supervision and supervision of supervision to help me see any blind spots, process cases and issues, and consult as needed.
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’m in private practice but my master’s level interns are from USM so there is support from the student’s advisor and internship instructor, with whom I meet once or twice during their internship. I also attend regular trainings and engage in ongoing professional development in issues of supervision. I found my prior experience in agency work to be lacking in adequate supervisory support.