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Find A Supervisor

Once your academic credentials have been approved you can begin the search for a supervisor. This can be a daunting undertaking and many people find this stage overwhelming. Luckily, there are several resources to help in navigating this step.

*If you are enrolled in a doctorate program, supervisor and site selection will be facilitated by your program and is unique to each school. If you’re planning on taking this route, you can consult with your program advisor for more details on this process. Regardless of the path you take, these tips can be useful.

 

  • You can contact the PAA for a list of prospective supervisors as long as you are an active member of the association. This list is not exhaustive, as supervisor inclusion is voluntary, but it can be a good place to start.
  • Reach out to those around you. Ask former graduates from your program where they completed their provisional hours, talk to peers and colleagues and explore relevant alumni groups. You can also do a general search for psychologists and agencies you have an interest in working with to see if they are accepting provisional psychologists.
  • Things to consider before reaching out to a potential supervisor:
    1. The supervisor’s area of practice and/or specializations. Do your research. Make sure that the supervisor has experience in your desired areas of practice. If they operate out of a private practice, there is likely information about their areas of interest, professional affiliations and certifications, research experience and academic background available online. Psychology Today is also a helpful resource for this information gathering step.
    2. At this stage, you may also be considering whether you will have an onsite or offsite supervisor. With an onsite supervisor, your supervisor will be present and working at the site where you are completing your hours. With offsite supervision, your supervisor will be separate from your provisional site and you will meet offsite for your supervision hours. While onsite supervision is often most desirable, it may not always be feasible.
  • So now you’ve shortlisted potential supervisors. Next you want to consider a few questions that can help you in vetting a potential supervisor prior to requesting a meeting.
    1. Experience as a supervisor.
      1. Years of experience, supervisory training and model of supervision used.
    2. Number of provisionals accepted for supervision at one time.
    3. Cost of supervision and compensation.
      1. Will your supervisor be providing clients (e.g., through their private practice) or will you be responsible for finding your own clients?
      2. If they are providing clients, will you be compensated for your hours and will supervision cost be deducted from this compensation?
  • Now you’re going for interviews and meeting with potential supervisors. Here are a few central questions to keep in mind.
    1. How will supervision be delivered (i.e., individual/group, face-to-face/phone/video, direct session observation/supervision).
    2. Frequency of supervision and supervisor availability.
      1. Do you have a standing supervision time? How accessible is your supervisor should you need to book an hour?
      2. In the case of an external supervisor, you may be especially interested in how accessible they are and how you would manage a crisis situation where immediate consultation is needed.
    3. Supervision style and orientation. Here you want to get an idea of how your supervisor approaches supervision, and if it’s a good fit for you.
      1. For instance, you can inquire about the general structure of supervision. Are sessions wholly supervisee led or does the supervisor have specific subjects/themes they like to present?
      2. Is there a balance of both process and content in supervision delivery? This relates to the level of emotional support you might want from a supervisor as well as the level of clinical expertise and knowledge provided. It can be useful to think about your practicum supervision as well as your experience with supervision in general to have an idea of what works well for you.
  • Ask any questions you may have relating to their theoretical background, as this will have a significant influence on supervision.
  1. Inquire about additional trainings, certifications, and professional affiliations.
  2. What is the process for conflict resolution as it relates to the supervisor and supervisee relationship?

 

*This route represents the ideal supervisor selection process; but, dependent upon supervisor availability, competition for sites/supervisors and other factors, it may not be viable. Given limited supervisory options, you want to consider what your primary needs are and what you can compromise on.