Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Importance of Clinical Supervision

Good clinical supervision is essential for assuring a therapy practice or treatment center is offering the best clinically driven, ethical, client centered services possible. While most clinicians and licensed therapists are required to obtain a certain number of supervision hours for their private practices, unfortunately, many facilities and treatment centers do no place enough (if any) emphasis on their treatment teams getting good, consistent clinical supervision on an ongoing basis.

Clinical supervision provides a number of benefits for therapists and the staff as a whole:

  • Clinical supervision can help staff to identify and cope with the personal and professional stressors inherent in working in the mental health and addictions field. This is especially true for those who work with people who may be dealing with difficult issues and can be damanding as clients. Clinical supervision provides a safe and confidential place to explore their own personal and emotional reactions or “counter transference” issues that may otherwise get in the way of a healthy therapeutic alliance.
  • Clinical supervision can allow the therapist to reflect on their own history and personal experiences that may otherwise, subconsciously affect the client therapist relationship. They can receive feedback and recommendations from another professional on their approach/style that is separate from management or evaluative considerations.
  • Clinical supervision can be an aspect of the therapist’s professional development, and also help to identify developmental needs as well as professional goals and interests.

Clinical supervison can prevent burn out and increase staff retention. Working with mental health and addiction issues is emotionally taxing and without good boundaries, one can easily burn out and feel like quitting. The support of a good clincial supervisor can make all the difference, build staff morale and improve team work.

Clinical supervision can contribute to meeting requirements of professional bodies and regulatory requirements for continuing professional development (where applicable).

At Solutions Treatment Center we recognize the value of excellent clinical supervision and have reaped the rewards. Liz Cervio has been offering supervision to our therapists, counselors and interns for the past year, and we are happy to offer a training titled:

The Supervisory Relationship~Co-creating a Therapeutic Container

Saturday, May 31st 9am to noon.

For more information see our events tab

Art and Healing

art and healingIt is an accepted notion in many circles that making art serves a healing function, and even, sometimes, that art itself can be an agent of healing. Shamanic art-making, if you will. “Poet Antonin Artaud spent … years in psychiatric wards for his recurrent bouts of insanity. His view — that art first heals the artist and subsequently helps heal others — is an ancient one” (Kay Redfield Jamison, in Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, p. 121).

“In his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche introduced the art of medicine: ‘Here, when the danger to his will is greatest, art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing’” (Shaun McNiff, in Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination, p. 48).

Also from the same book comes the following: “Many artists view art as serious psychological inquiry: William Blake, D. H. Lawrence, Frida Kahlo, Charlotte Salomon, the surrealists. … . Pioneering depth psychologists such as C. G. Jung and Otto Rank realized that the arts are the channels through which the soul speaks… “ (ibid, p. 43).

Dr. Janos Marton, visionary director of The Living Museum, says, “Self-transformation is the objective of all art … (In the Flow, p. 13).

A description of how art might be considered as an object of healing comes from Tom Crockett, in The Artist Inside: A Spiritual Guide to Cultivating Your Creative Self. He says that “The work of a shaman is healing, empowering, enlightening, enchanting. The shaman-as-artist, or dream artist, does this work through images and artifacts. … . When you manifest spirit in material form, you bind your community together and weave yourself inextricably into it” (p. xix).

And Pat Allen, in Art as a Way of Knowing, has this to say about art objects holding energy, capable even of communication. “As you pass by an image, with no real effort, it will begin to speak to you, you will notice things about it” (p. 12).

She goes on to explain:

Remember that the image is the messenger of your soul and never comes to harm you. The misperception of the art school critique is that the image needs to be improved through criticism. The misperception of art therapy is that the image must be analyzed. Both approaches try to overpower the image with intellect. The image needs to be known, seen fully with loving attention and encouraged to speak, treated as you would treat an ambassador from a different world. Then it will develop and reveal itself according to its own logic. (p. 60)

In many indigenous cultures, there can be found examples of art objects considered to be healing objects, although the discussion becomes murky very quickly when we remember that in many of these cultures, the very idea of art as separate from life does not exist. Talismans, amulets, sacred shells and feathers, the ancient Druidic circles of stones — the list is almost endless — with accounts reaching back as far as recorded history. One small example comes from Ethiopia.

Healing art in Ethiopia has its origins in ancient Greek, Islamic, and Jewish mysticism. Abstract in concept and form, with roots in the Old Testament, it predates the New Testament narrative style of drawing. Talismans are not only visual art but also prayer, medicine, and ritual act. They are made by clerics of the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox SYTM Church, who are on their knees as they draw, a humbling constraint. The purpose of talismans is to rid the human body of the demonic spirits that are causing physical or mental problems. … . Recognized as extraordinary works in Ethiopia and by whoever sees them, they are both engaging art and powerful medicine. (Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM, 2004)

Objects and places (not discussed here) have been, and continue to be understood by millions as imbued with sacred spiritual energies. It is only in contemporary Western culture that this idea is considered to be “woo-woo,” pejoratively new-aged, denigrated.

There are many techniques to help guide you deeper into your own knowing, your own universe of subtle energies and transpersonal guidance. This knowledge, these experiences, then become the doorways into shamanic art-making.

Dr. Melanie Harth

Solutions – we can help you find your way again. Call one of our intake counselors for a free consultation – 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.