Clinical Confidence Across Your Clinical Career with Shannon Heers | POP 978

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What’s a surefire way to continuously grow and develop your clinical confidence throughout your career? How do you check yourself to make sure that you are continuously improving and providing quality care without working in a vacuum? Do you want to work alongside and with other mental health practitioners?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about creating clinical confidence across your clinical career with Shannon Heers.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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Meet Shannon Heers

An image of Shannon Heers is captured. Shannon is a licensed therapist, clinical supervisor, blogger, and owner of the group practice Catalyss Counseling. Shannon is featured on the Grow a Group Practice podcast, a therapist podcast.

Shannon Heers is a licensed therapist, clinical supervisor, blogger, and owner of Firelight Supervision, and the group practice Catalyss Counseling. Shannon is passionate about working with professionals, parents, and postpartum moms to manage stress, tame anxiety, and process grief.

Visit Firelight Supervision and the Catalyss Counselling website. Connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.

Connect with Shannon Heers on LinkedIn.

FREEBIE: Check out this free downloadable PDF on Therapist Burnout Prevention.

In this Podcast

  • The phases of clinical confidence 
  • The overlap of overconfidence with inexperience 
  • Building confidence in practicum or pre-license clinicians 
  • How to self-evaluate your own clinical confidence
  • Shannon’s advice to private practitioners

The phases of clinical confidence 

I think clinical confidence, first of all … Can affect clinicians no matter where you are in your career. Certainly it’s going to affect newer clinicians because you just don’t have as much experience or knowledge in the field, but it can also affect [more seasoned] clinicians when you’re learning a new specialization or you’re working with a new population … So clinical confidence can affect you no matter where you are in your career. (Shannon Heers) 

Some of the foundations of clinical confidence include;

  • Your competence as a therapist 
  • Adaptability and transfer of skills 
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills

Therefore, clinical confidence is not as simple as just getting good at what you are doing since many foundational aspects underlie the basis of what full clinical confidence is. 

The overlap of overconfidence with inexperience

There is a sweet spot between knowing that you are about to experience a learning curve and then knowing that you are not ready yet to try something. 

As in any profession, in mental health, there can be some practitioners who have a level of confidence that does not – or should not – match the level or type of work that they are doing. 

I do see some overconfidence in some of the earlier stage career therapists in that they really get attuned to one particular theoretical orientation which is great because you get to know that orientation in and out, but then the confidence that they have is really just based on only that work. (Shannon Heers)

It is important to know the tools and interventions that you want to use to boost your confidence, but your level of confidence cannot only depend on those aspects. 

As Shannon explained before, your clinical confidence draws on multiple different aspects, and leaning on only one will not take you as far as you want to go.

Building confidence in practicum or pre-license clinicians 

Considering masters-level students coming into a practice, remember that they may not ever have sat down across from a client before.  You are going to have to go back to basics with them, such as structuring a session timing-wise. 

Secondly, Shannon encourages you to teach these new clinicians to integrate who they are as a person with who they are as a therapist. 

Really [integrate] who you are as a therapist with who you are as a person. You want your values about how you feel that people heal and get better to really be aligned with your values, and how you work as a therapist and the theoretical orientations that you choose, your approaches, and even your style of how you work with people. (Shannon Heers)

Two therapists could use the same theoretical orientations but have vastly different approaches to it and their clients because they are bringing their unique personalities, perspectives, and values into the mix. 

How to self-evaluate your own clinical confidence

No matter where you are in your career, make sure that you have someone that you know and trust who can provide you with high-quality clinical feedback. 

Even seasoned clinicians can still get monthly, quarterly, or even annual, clinical supervision to seek and get feedback so that they are not neglecting themselves or the standard of their work as they continue on their journey. 

I think a lot of people, once they get fully licensed, they say, “Ah, I’m done, I don’t need supervision anymore! I’m out there on my own”, and that to me is one of the scariest things ever in our field, is having a clinician who is isolated and doesn’t have anyone else to bounce ideas off of, or to get support in the case of urgent or emergent issues. (Shannon Heers)

Regarding your team in your private practice, if you have one, make sure that everyone in your team has someone that they can go to if they have queries or questions about a case, or when they want a second opinion. 

It’s important for therapists to not feel like they are alone in the work that they are doing, so facilitate a coming-together in your practice space to encourage and support cohesion, performance, and staff peace of mind. 

Shannon’s advice to private practitioners 

If you are feeling alone, you are not the only one! Many solo practitioners feel isolated, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. There are places you can go, groups to join, and people to consult or supervise. Reach out and connect with them! 

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Building a Holistic Therapy Practice with Sara Baker | POP 977

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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