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Do you feel that setting a "goal" with your supervisee is a way of focusing his or her energy? In encouraging and assisting supervisees in establishing goals, you can help your supervisee in focusing him or herself better and elevate their performance. As you may know, a goal is an event, circumstance, object, or condition a supervisee strives to attain.
In this section, we will examine the four characteristics of effective goal setting with your supervisee: setting specific goals; setting realistically difficult goals; mutual supervisee-supervisor goal agreement; and giving feedback.
Four Characteristics of Effective Goal Setting
♦ #1 - Setting Specific Goals
Also, it goes without saying that it's important to set an actual time frame for accomplishing these goals. This of course works well with objective tasks like dictating client progress notes in a timely manner. A set amount of time in this case adds extra motivation to achieve this goal reasonably quickly. For less tangible goals like increasing self-awareness of client -therapist countertransference issues, time frames might be more long-term. Thus, you might consider setting goals for different time periods.
Different goals of varied difficulty, as in the case of client-therapist countertransference, will also vary in the amount of time it will take to accomplish them. Do you agree? You might try setting daily goals, short-term goals, to be accomplished between your hourly individual training sessions; medium-term goals, perhaps with a time frame of 30 days; and long-term goals, perhaps with a time frame of several months. In your manual, there is a form to facilitate your thought process regarding the establishment of these goals.
♦ #2 - Setting Realistic Goals
Essentially, some supervisors think of it as bringing their supervisee as close to the edge as possible while not simultaneously pushing them over into frustration or a major stressor point. Pause and think about your supervisee. Do you know where they are at now and where they need to grow? If they are new, is it in the area of knowledge of community resources? If they are into resistance of change from a therapy style not compatible with the philosophy of your agency, are they into discomfort dodging, feelings of entitlement, or unwillingness to compromise?
♦ #3 - Cooperation in Goal Setting
For instance, scheduling sessions with your supervisee is an important goal to work out with him or her. If the supervisee feels that he or she is competent enough to do their work with only one supervision session a week, you might disagree. Perhaps you feel it is necessary to meet at the minimum three times a week. This goal of supervision sessions must also be discussed in reference to just how you as a supervisor feel most comfortable in observing your supervisee.
One supervisor wanted to observe his supervisee through video, noting the supervisee's empathetic facial expressions. The supervisee, however, felt uncomfortable with that much observation. Instead of forcing the therapist to accept the video, the supervisor compromised with audio recording instead of video. To avoid an uncooperative supervisee situation, I feel it is extremely important to discuss these goals with your supervisee prior to creating them. I also feel that supervisors and supervisees should have a coaching or mentoring relationship, which will be explained in a later section.
♦ #4 - Giving Feedback
Also, to state the obvious, when a supervisee is steadily progressing, it is a good idea to let him or her know you are pleased with their growth. Acknowledgment, especially from a supervisor, will inspire your supervisee to continue their performance. This should go without saying, but we all get busy and it's easy to overlook the obvious. Encouragement will be dealt with in the empowerment section of this course.
In this section, we discussed the four characteristics of effective goal setting: setting specific goals; setting realistically difficult goals; mutual supervisee-supervisor goal agreement; and giving feedback.
In the next section, we will propose a new method of resolving conflict: observation; thoughts; feedback; desires; and next time.
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