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Great Addiction Treatment Supervisors

While, as addiction counselors, we are most focused on our clients and how to best serve them, part of counseling includes the relationship that we have with our supervisors. Supervisors come in many shapes and sizes and while it would be nice to believe that every supervisor is a great one, that just isn’t the case. Of course, before we evaluate a supervisor, we must understand that expectation plays a part in how we perceive our supervisors and their level of competence. After all, every individual is unique and has his or her own way of managing problems and the day-to-day work within an addiction counseling treatment program.

However, there are several basic traits that we should expect from any supervisor. These traits will make them effective, not only in their supervisory role, but also in supporting our role as advocates for our clients.

  •  First, a supervisor must be attuned to the best practices of the industry. They are meant to help counselors in times of need and should be able to offer guidance as to best practices, based on research and proven theory.  The counselor may not have come across a particular problem to that point in their career and a supervisor must be able to fill the knowledge gap.
  • Second, supervisors must be able to communicate effectively. Effective communication between supervisor and counselor can enhance the communication between counselor and client.
  • Supervisors should always promote ethical, moral and legal practices as policy throughout their tenure. Supervisors should regularly remind the counselors that whatever they do must be within the bounds of acceptable principles to ensure the integrity of the counselor and of the facility as a whole.
  • A great supervisor will also aid in the growth of their counselors through promoting professional and personal growth. This may be in the form of regular training or new certifications.
  • Finally, supervisors should be open to feedback, growth and criticism from those around them in their facility. None of us are perfect and a supervisor will have their fair share of problems as well. A supervisor that is open to improving themselves along with promoting counselor self-improvement will make their facility more successful.

Ultimately, we have all had good and bad bosses. Speaking to the management of the addiction facility and the supervisors who will directly support you can be very telling in understanding how you will fit into the larger culture of the facility. While it may be tempting to take the job for the money or simply for the opportunity to break into the industry, it is also important to look ahead to ensure that that job is as fulfilling as you would expect.