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

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Patricia Burke

Posted for Beth Andrews

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? While it is uncomfortable to know that I could have liability for the actions of others, I feel that entering this field required an acceptance of that inevitability. Other fields may not carry as much risk, but this is what I chose, and what I love. Someone else carried vicarious liability for me when I was beginning, and now I do that for others. It is scary, but also something that must happen.

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) Acceptance: If I choose to be in this field, and be a supervisor, accept the risk, and do my best to be prepared. 2) Consultation: While I do not have my own supervisor, I meet with colleagues regularly, to discuss case questions and get their perspectives, which occasionally includes risks or pitfalls I may not have thought of on my own. 3) Check, check and re-check my work and my instincts.

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 no longer work for an agency, but when I did, I was in a situation where I felt unsupported by my boss. Initially, I felt I had nowhere to turn with my concerns, but I was able to speak to others and got the support I needed to correct the situation. I appreciated the acknowledgement of the potential risk, and the support I received to mitigate it.