In AAMFT Supervision courses, we focus on the process of supervision from the time of meeting and interviewing potential trainees, to contracting and determining goals, to using multiple roles and skills to ensure client care and trainee professional growth, to working as a colleague and co-professional in the field. We focus on relationships within the supervisory system, and on roles that supervisors engage in for varying purposes and at varying trainee developmental stages. We also focus on the purpose and appropriate goals for supervision, system concepts, the relationship between one’s approach to therapy and approach to supervision, personal and professional experiences that impact supervision, the process of supervision, formats, ethical and legal training and practice, contextual awareness/sensitivity/competency, and evaluating trainees’ progress.
The interactive portion of the Fundamentals course, whether online or in person, also focuses on the elements mentioned above within a context of discussion among an instructor and other supervisor candidates. These discussions have become quite popular and involve participants from around the country, continent, and globe. Instructors lead discussion on topics assigned each week that complement the Units in the didactic portion of the course (5 in all), topics introduced by participants, and exercises aimed at enhancing learning and practice. Many participants continue interacting with each other after the formal sessions have ended.
The combined course culminates in a personal philosophy of supervision paper, which often seems daunting but, when worked on throughout the course, results in clear thinking about what one thinks about relational supervision as well as how one practices as a supervisor. I have enjoyed reading these papers and nurturing future AAMFT designated supervisors in this part of their journey. Working on these courses has been stimulating, fun, challenging, and quite rewarding for me.
The AS Refresher course is specially designed for AAMFT Approved Supervisors who wish to renew their designations. It satisfies the requirement of a Refresher course for each 5-year cycle for renewal. In this course, we have a didactic, online portion that focuses on readings and assignments in preparation for the online interactive portion, which is 3 hours, offered many times each month. The didactic portion can be completed whenever one wants, which makes it accessible for busy clinicians and supervisors.
I encourage any of you reading this to consider further training as a relational supervisor. If you have any questions, please consult the AAMFT Approved Supervisor Designation: Standards handbook or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are currently an Approved Supervisor, and will be renewing your designation soon, I hope you find the AS Refresher course timely, accessible, friendly, challenging, and useful.
Thorana S. Nelson, Ph.D. is emerita professor of family therapy at Utah State University. She enjoys training and supervision in marriage and family therapy and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and has taught AAMFT courses on the Fundamentals of Supervision, the Approved Supervisor Refresher course, and A Crash Course in Marriage and Family Therapy. She currently teaches the online supervision courses for AAMFT and is a co-author, with Robert E. Lee, of The Contemporary Relational Supervisor, published by Routledge.