Provider Spotlight

The Essentials of Supervision: Daniel Beath's Approach to Creating Open and Honest Conversations

Supervisors, like Daniel Beath, are critical in the behavioral health field. Effective supervision impacts numerous organizational 
domains, including staff morale and resiliency, maintenance of day-to-day operations, and is widely associated with the provision of high quality client care. As the Director of Clinical Services for The Bridge’s supportive housing program in Brooklyn, Daniel provides regular individual and group supervision with his staff as well as develops new program activities for clients that incorporate a clinical perspective. He recently attended CTAC’s Best Practices in Supervision Clinical Intensive. Recognizing the essential role of supervisors and the value they can bring to their organization, these offerings aimed to provide behavioral health organizations and supervisors with a foundational knowledge of the core competencies of supervision, as well as encourage staff to consider individual and programmatic changes to supervision. 

How does Daniel approach supervision?

“I always want to create a space that allows people to talk. I understand there are structures and hierarchies, but if we’re not open and honest with each other, we’re not helping anyone. The more we can normalize the things we struggle with, the more we can assist each other and our clients. This is my goal. When we approach each other as humans and have open and honest conversations, we can get a lot more done.” 

How does supervision lead to good client care? 

“I think it’s all about the language we use to talk with clients. What’s been successful is when we open a dialogue where we illustrate to staff the way in which we approach each other versus the way in which we approach our clients. And just by raising that awareness, staff have changed their approach and they subsequently grew. And that starts with good supervision. Being able to provide good supervision and being able to have good conversations allows them to have good conversations with clients.” 

What was something new he learned after attending the training?

“One thing we don’t always think about is self-care from a program perspective, we think of it on an individual level. I think that it’s helpful to see some of the tools that we can use to help implement self-care and start that discussion. I was able to use the ProQOL* and see that even for staff who didn’t present any typical signs [of burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma] were struggling with some stuff. We were able to have more of an open conversation about it through the scale.” 

*The ProQOL is short for the Professional Quality of Life Scale, a tool for individuals in helping professions that assesses for burnout, compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma.

How is Daniel encouraging his staff’s self-care?

“I’ve always integrated questions that ask staff ‘what are you doing with self-care?’ But after the training, I’m looking at it from a more holistic point of view. ‘What can we do as a program to help you with self-care? What can we implement physically or logically to promote self-worth and self-care?’ The training also helped us think through ‘okay so what can we do when staff are struggling? How can we have discussions and be open without invading someone’s privacy?’ In an effort to create a more team-oriented approach [to self-care] I’ll be running a meeting with all staff members in one of our [supportive housing] buildings to create a safe and open environment where we can have an honest conversation about anything that’s going on. Right now, I’m going to test it out to see if it’s productive and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Daniel Beath, LCSW is the Director of Clinical Services for Brooklyn as part of The Bridge. With over 40 programs in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, The Bridge is committed to providing personalized behavioral health, housing, and other services in order to support the individual in achieving their recovery and independent living goals. Learn more by visiting their website at https://www.thebridgeny.org/