The Importance of Supportive Supervision for Mental Health Professionals | The Center for Victims of Torture

The Importance of Supportive Supervision for Mental Health Professionals

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

How do counselors manage feelings of burnout and secondary trauma responses when they extend care to survivors of trauma? It is difficult work and it requires regular self-reflection, resilience and commitment. For this reason, CVT focuses on practices that support building clinical skills and the emotional well-being of clinicians. One of these practices is called clinical supervision, a core part of CVT’s mental health care model which brings supportive time for all clinicians with a supervisor, to reflect and process the work they are doing and to discuss interventions and options.

With this in mind, in February the CVT Ethiopia team participated in a special training facilitated by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) Psychosocial Centre on their Integrated Model for Supervision (IMS). They developed this model as awareness has been growing that while clinical supervision has long been acknowledged as a supportive tool for professionals delivering mental health and psychosocial services (MHPSS), there has been a gap in its implementation in humanitarian contexts. The IFRC set out to study the effectiveness of their model in a number of ways, including training and feedback sessions.

The CVT Ethiopia team was selected for training, and clinicians and administrative staff from our centers in Gambella, Dabat and Tigray all participated. The training was conducted over two weeks in Gambella, and focused on benefits of supportive supervision, guidance for supervisors as well as resources. Participants were tasked with creating a roadmap of activities that will be implemented in order to strengthen supervision practices in the coming year.

The CVT Ethiopia team found the IMS training was helpful in emphasizing the importance of supportive supervision for all MHPSS workers, practicing supportive supervision, and sharing best practices for CVT to follow. Sandra Githaiga, clinical program director, CVT Ethiopia, said, “As an organization we have strong supervision structures in place, and this training helped to align CVT's practices with best practices and to reinforce/strengthen some areas to provide better supervision.”

Following the training, Sandra contributed to this report titled “The Acceptability, Appropriateness, and Feasibility of Implementing Supportive Supervision within Humanitarian Contexts: A Qualitative Study,” which was published by SSM – Mental Health in Science Direct.




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