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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

What Makes a Great Therapy Supervisor

I was informed yesterday by the Art Therapy Credentials Board that I received my ATR. After 1500 direct client hours and 150 hours of supervision, I am a registered art therapist.

While I am grateful to reach this milestone, there is some grief that comes with it. I could not have asked for a better supervisor, Nicole Randick, and I will deeply miss her supervisory support. While we will maintain a friendship, we both recognize it will not be the same as our weekly (and many times twice weekly!) supervisory relationship. I am deeply grateful to her, and I wish everyone could have a supervisor like her.

I am sharing here my thank you to my supervisor, so that future supervisees can know what to look for, supervisors can know what to strive for, and I can always remember what to be grateful for.

A Thank You to my Art Therapy Supervisor

Thank you for seeing me as a person first. You saw and cared about all of me - not just how I fulfilled my therapist duties. Thank you for always checking in on how I was doing, and then delving into my clients.

You understood that my personal life impacted how I showed up as a therapist. Thank you for being willing to discuss how those related.

Thank you for helping navigate confusing laws and policies, time and time again. Thank you for not just telling me to do it myself, but looking at it with me. Double checking. Triple checking.

Illustration of purple hands holding a pink heart with green leaves and blue coloring in the background. The illustration depicts gratitude and was created by art therapist Jackie Schuld.
"Gratitude" Marker by Jackie Schuld

Thank you for standing by me as I did something unique as a new graduate - opening a private practice. It was such a relief every week to know someone was present to hear how it was going - how my caseload was growing, how I was decorating my art therapy studio, how I was tailoring my paperwork, and more.

Thank you for all of your years of experience you shared with me. From discussing how to best store client artwork to ethics of displaying artwork to navigating tricky conversations with adolescents … your experience provided a wealth of ideas and helpful suggestions.

Thank you for navigating such an unknown time with me. We started during the pandemic and we are ending during the pandemic. We didn’t know the “right” paperwork and policies (because no one knew), but we did our absolute best.

Thank you for being present as I evolved and grew as a therapist and business owner. Thank you for listening as I discussed new ideas, paperwork changes, policy changes, and the like.

Thank you for helping me to center myself as an “art therapist” and not drift into solely providing talk therapy.

Thank you for continually encouraging me to learn. For reading books with me that I never would have read on my own. For modeling that we are always learning as therapists.

Thank you for guiding me through difficult and painful experiences with clients. Thank you for seeing that I tried my best, and helping me figure out next steps.

There were difficult moments where I wasn’t sure of the best course of action, both as a therapist and as a private practice owner. Thank you for always helping me to stay in alignment with my ethics and values.

Thank you for being flexible in your schedule and always ensuring we met.

Thank you for encouraging me to keep my personal interests and hobbies alive - from writing to art to incorporating my dog into my life.

Thank you for supporting me as I tried new things as a therapist (groups, art directives, etc.).

Thank you for uplifting me when I navigated criticism or was disappointed with myself.

Thank you for brainstorming which steps to take next when I was stuck with a client. Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas.

Thank you for holding me accountable when I said my caseload was too much.

Thank you for being supportive when I decided to make changes to my business that would support me emotionally, mentally, and financially. Thank you for all you did as I implemented those changes and had extremely difficult conversations with clients.

Thank you for hearing me and understanding me. For seeing the best in me as I chose to center myself in my private practice (for not seeing me as selfish, but as truly caring for myself so that I could care for my clients better).

Thank you for modeling that therapists take vacations, shift their schedules when personal matters arise, and make adjustments that honor themselves.

Thank you for encouraging me as I refined my client population and discerned my ideal client.

Thank you for acknowledging when you did not know something, and then seeking out the information, education, or whatever it took. Thank you for modeling this process, as I now do it with my clients.

Thank you for always making me feel confident as a therapist.

Thank you for not buying into hustle culture, and providing support as I decided to shrink my caseload and work less.

Thank you for your positivity and fun spirit that you brought to our meetings. Our meetings were full of laughter and I always looked forward to them.

Thank you for being present, time and time again. For whatever I brought to our meetings. I could always tell you were actively listening.

Thank you for being available in times of crisis (ahem, when I was emotionally overwhelmed by something that happened with a client).

Thank you for always having an attitude of “We’ll figure this out.” When others said “she can’t run a private practice,” we looked at the laws and policies. We researched. We brainstormed. Thank you for helping me build my dream. And for having that dream built on a solid foundation of ethics, values, and law.

Thank you for taking the risk of being my supervisor. I understand that your role comes with responsibility and liability. Thank you for being willing to take that on to supervise me. Thank you for trusting me.

Thank you for modeling how to be a full human and professional. I truly believe you brought who you were to our meetings. And it made all of the difference.


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