It’s been a year since my clinical supervisor and mentor, Judy Todd, died. I’ll never forget going to visit her in the hospital after her cancer diagnosis. I think I knew in my heart she was going to die. I felt sad, worried, scared. Since then I think of her frequently, mostly I miss her when I don’t know what direction to take with a client. I miss my group with her. I’ve looked for another group and nothing is the same. We went through a lot together, both clinically and professionally. I could always count on her to be stable, calming, and to know what to do. I’m still friends with the members of that group and other colleagues that knew Judy. In honor of her memory, I wanted to share some things she taught me.
Things I learned from Judy
1. Trust the relationship
2. Whatever happens, stick to your ethics
3. Breath and remain calm
4. Trust your instincts.
5. Focus on the child
6. Respect the child
7. Keep working through it
8. Have support
9. Play therapy works
10. Have confidence in yourself as a therapist
Supervisors and mentors are so important in the field of counseling, and I think her death re-enforced my belief in having someone more experienced than you in your life that you can consult with and learn from, and how long you can build a relationship with a supervisor. My relationship with her was a career making decision. From the first time I sat in on a play therapy session with her, and fell in love with it, to times in my career where other people around me were making poor ethical decisions supervision with her kept me grounded, focused, and confident in my work as a therapist. I hope that if you are under supervision, just starting out as a counselor or even someone who has been in a field a while that you have a mentor like I did.
Do you have a positive experience with a supervisor too? Share in the comments below and lets encourage each other!