Before You Start Supervision p.2: Write Down Your Mission Statement

In Part I of Before You Start, I asked you to do some personal reflection. Let’s take that information, and add to it the NASW Code of Ethics preamble for some inspiration:

“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession's focus on individual wellbeing in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.“

Now let’s take your reflections and write a simple mission statement for yourself. Clarifying your intentions and putting it into words is very powerful, and will serve as a personalized guide in your work. Keep it short: about 50 words or less. Make copies of it and put it on your fridge at home, your work computer, your bathroom mirror, etc. If you have a clinical supervisor, ask them to keep a copy of it as well. You can experiment with this format:

I care about _____________________________________________________________

because _____________________________________________________________________.

The change I want to see is ______________________________________________________,

and to create this change, I am going to ______________________________________________________________________________.

For example, my own mission statement for my work as a clinical supervisor is:

I care about newly graduated master’s-level clinicians in my community receiving high-quality training and support as they begin (and continue) their professional development,

because we are all the main providers for mental health and social justice services, and we deserve training that adequately matches the importance of our work.

The change I want to see is a demand for higher standards of supervision services, more training requirements for clinical supervisors, more research around effective clinical supervision strategies, and really great supervision provided for those receiving services.

To create this change I’m going to advocate, educate, research, train, and provide services in a way that leads to the outcome I am seeking by:

  1. Educating people (via email, social media and in-person workshops) about the value of clinical supervision.

  2. Coordinating and participate in monthly clinical supervision of my own clinical supervision practice.

  3. Reading and reviewing literature on clinical supervision practices bi-weekly with fellow supervisors.

  4. Gathering data from my supervisees, from our supervision sessions, and contribute to the larger body of research.

  5. Collaborating with clinicians from multiple disciplines (psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, psychologists and other social workers) to contribute to our collective communities, and regularly consider and incorporate new information and practices.

As you go along in your work over the years, ask yourself: is this still what I care about? Has it shifted? What am I currently doing that matters to me? Is what I’m doing reflecting my mission statement?

Tell me, what did you figure out by making your mission statement?


Supervision for Supervisors with Susie Snyder, LCSW

Before You Start Supervision p.1: Know Your Purpose

Before You Start Supervision p.1: Know Your Purpose