Supervision, One of The World’s Most Sticky Things…

supervisonWorkshop Review by Marette Monson, LCSW, ACS, MBA

Meet Taytay Maumau. She is the Guinness World Record holder for most sticky notes stuck to your face at one time. Yep.  They have that category. People seem to have a strange fascination with all things sticky, don’t they?

The Utah Association for Play Therapy is no exception. On January 30, 2015, I attended a conference titled “Sticky Situations: Ethical Dilemmas in Play Therapy Supervision” facilitated by Clair Mellenthin. If any of you have had a chance to see Clair present, you know she is knowledgeable, energetic, and engaging. An article like this just can’t take the place of the real thing, but I can share with you 5 of the top 10 things that stuck with me from the conference.  To see the other 5 or get more detailed information on these, email me at

5. If it works, stick to it. Our clients sign an informed consent and disclosure statement before we can treat them and so should a supervisee. Create a supervisee informed consent that includes your terms of the supervision. And make sure your client disclosures indicate your supervisee is under supervision and by whom.

4. What works in one sticky situation might work in another.  Use play therapy techniques in supervision. They can work for your supervisee and create insight just as much as they do for a client.

3. What you are doing to remove the stick just might be making it worse.  Consult your code of ethics, legal counsel, or colleagues when faced with any situation that involves the courts or has legal ties.  We talked about several situations that were made worse because of the inexperience or lack of knowledge of the supervisee, supervisor, and/or agency.

2. Stick is transferrable. Vicarious liability means that you will be responsible for your supervisee’s actions. Make sure you take good supervision notes to document your advice to your supervisee.

1. Getting unstuck requires help from someone else.  Keep yourself emotionally and mentally healthy by visiting your own therapist on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to suggest your supervisee’s participate in their own therapy. Like malpractice insurance, it protects both your career and theirs from compassion fatigue.

Next time a conference like this rolls around, don’t avoid it like a piece of used chewing gum! You’ll be able to use the information you just learned to get yourself unstuck in some challenging supervision situations that are likely to impact your career for a lot longer than those 60 sticky notes can stay on Taytay’s head. For more information about compassion fatigue or sticky supervisor situations from this conference contact me at or 801-980-1343.