I’ve been training social workers during their master’s level internships and toward licensure for more years than I care to list here. I’m passionate about use of a trauma lens to understand and respond to clients and communities. I consider myself to provide trauma informed clinical supervision (TICS). Still, I’ve never been technically trained in the competencies for this type of supervision and neither have any of the other social work supervisors I know. Additionally, I have never seen a reference to it included in standards of care or government service contracts. A review of the literature, however, yields a productive list of handbooks, guides, and journal articles. A lot of great material is out there. It looks like we have a bit of catching up to do!
The literature verifies that TICS can improve employee wellness and retention, while preventing burnout (Fairfax County, 2018). This practice emphasizes the application of basic trauma-informed care principles to supervision. These include safety, trust, peer support, mutuality, empowerment (voice/ choice), and inclusion of culture/gender needs (Halper, 2020). There are excellent guidance and training materials available, many produced recently. I’m currently reviewing them and learning a lot about how to direct my passion about trauma to improve my supervision practice. Please consider taking one or more these resources back to your practice setting and advocating for inclusion. The outcomes can accrue benefit for all who seek therapeutic and social services.
Fairfax County (2018). Trauma informed community network: the trauma-informed supervisor. Retrieved from https://www.pacesconnection.com/g/becoming-a-trauma-informed-and-beyond/fileSendAction/fcType/0/fcOid/475599658546455450/filePointer/475599658546455545/fodoid/475599658546455539/3rd%20Edition%20TI%20Supervisor%20Workbook.pdf.
Halper, A. (2018). Trauma informed supervision: building stronger relationships and organizations. Retrieved from www.relias.com/blog/trauma-informed-supervision.
Jones, M. (2015). Trauma-informed field instructor training for san diego state university school of social work. Retrieved from https://socialwork.sdsu.edu/field/files/2012/05/field-instructor-training3-2015.pdf.
National Council for Behavioral Health (2020). Trauma informed supervision guidance tool (includes templates to align supervision with documentation from a trauma lens). Retrieved from https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TI_SupervisionNote-Template.pdf?daf=375ateTbd56.
SAMHSA (2014). TIP 57: trauma informed care in behavioral health services- learn about trauma-informed supervision. Retrieved from https://sadod.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/Trauma-Informed-Supervision.pdf.