The Lift 014 | Bringing it All Together - Clinical Applications
An ABA Technologies Academy Podcast
This episode does not qualify for BACB CEs.
This episode explores how clinical supervisors are using the book "Building and Sustaining Meaningful and Effective Relationships as a Supervisor and Mentor" in clinical settings. Dr. Linda LeBlanc and Dr. Tyra Sellers are joined by two clinical supervisors as they talk about how they have effectively individualized the contents of the book into their clinical practices.
The book focuses on the importance of strong relationships and teaching higher-order skills throughout any supervisory endeavor. The authors provide a conceptually sound set of supervision practices that will guide the actions of those who aspire to become better supervisors or mentors at any point in their careers.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:07):
Welcome to episode 14 of The Lift, everyone. I'm Linda LeBlanc
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:12):
And I'm Tyra.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (00:14):
Today we're gonna be talking with representatives from organizations that have implemented some systems based on our book.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (00:24):
Yeah, I'm really excited, Linda, for this episode, because I think the whole point of the book is to have produced something usable. We get to actually hear how it's going and get some feedback and maybe share some ideas. I'm excited to introduce our first guest who is Cate Huggins. She is a board certified behavior analyst from Northern Baltimore county, Maryland, and I just visited there and it was very fun and exciting. She completed her bachelor's degree at Penn state, and then she jumped into a masters program in applied behavior analysis also at Penn state under Richard Foxx, Kimberly Schreck, and Keith Williams. She transferred about halfway through and finished up at Southern Illinois University in behavior analysis, practicing under Mark Dixon. Cate is currently a doctoral candidate, "Whoo!" at Capella University where she's finishing up her dissertation. Stay strong, Cate. Her dissertation is focusing on the perfect topic: Staff supervision and training. She is a licensed behavior analyst in, not just one but two states, in Kentucky and Arizona. Cate oversees the field work experience program at Hope Bridge Autism therapy centers, and has done a lot of supervision work at all of her places of employment. Her work has primarily focused on staff supervision, training, mentorship for practitioners, particularly those working with individuals with Autism. Wellcome, Cate.
Cate Huggins (01:53):
Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here, guys. This is so fun and exciting.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (01:57):
Yay. I'm glad that you gave us a little bit of time away from your farm today to chat with us. [Laughing]
Cate Huggins (02:04):
Yes. The farm babies.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (02:06):
Yes. I'm sure we'll get to hear all about the farm in a little bit. We have a second guest today.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (02:14):
Francine Holguin is with us today and she serves as the director of BCBA strategic design at Kadient, which is a national organization providing ABA services. She designs the organization's BCBA field work practices and resources for both the trainees and their field work supervisors. She also is serving as an interim director of clinical services in Southern California. Francine got her undergrad degree at Loyola Marymount, and then continued for her graduate studies at Cal state, LA with Michelle Wallace, Randy Campbell, and Hank Schlinger. We are so excited to have you join us, Francine, and we're excited to hear about how you have been building resources for aspiring BCBAs and the people who are supporting them at Kadient. Welcome.
Francine Holguin (03:14):
Thank you so much for having me today. It's such a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (03:18):
Well, listeners should know by now that we always start diving into the topic with a related quote. So the quote today is by Wilferd Peterson and it says, “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.” I love that quote and I think it's so perfect for today because that's what we're talking about. We're talking about all of the practitioners out there who are the doers and the dreamers and the people that get up every day and do great, good work. I'm super excited to hear more from you all about how you're using this content.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (04:09):
Let's start off, if you don't mind, by hearing a little bit about your supervision story. This entire book was a little bit of the telling of our stories, and certainly the podcasts have been, but one of the things that always energizes and amazes me is to hear people's different stories. We talk a lot about the notion of a tree, but we're all different trees and we all have different people influencing us at different parts of our career. It's so interesting to hear how that then feeds forward into how you view supervision. Cate, do you wanna kick us off and tell us a little bit about what supervision experiences you had and how it sparked your interest in being a great supervisor?
Cate Huggins (05:07):
Sure, absolutely. Thank you guys for that introduction. That was amazing. I started in the field of behavior analysis as a behavioral tech and I love that, because I feel being in every single position has helped me understand and create a good supervisory experience for those that I work with now. I started out as behavioral tech and then I jumped into a lead RBT role as soon as I could. I was just really interested in that leadership opportunity or taking ownership of what supervision, or what training looked like in each environment that I worked at. Then of course I took the BCABA exam, because why not? It's offered there and I passed that. Yeah. From there I jumped into the BCBA role. I was all in, I was really dedicated to figuring out and improving the training, the workplace quality of life, the quality of care for our kiddos. All of that, all in one, and of course [Laughing] learning about how to be a good supervisor in each one of those new positions. From there, I jumped into a different position. I oversaw the onboarding experience, which was really fun. Working with those newly minted BCBAs, is really a great opportunity to just mentor them into their practice. Fast forward, I started working at Hope Bridge and I was working as a BCBA maintaining a caseload. Your traditional BCBA role and clinical trainer position opened up. My boss at the time said to me, "Cate, this is gonna be a perfect job for you." I applied, I got it. It was right up my alley and it incorporated everything that I really was passionate about except for student supervision. When a position opened up in the fellowship program, that's offered at Hope Bridge, the ABA field work advisor, I jumped right in there. The position that I work in now really incorporates the training, the development, and then overseeing ABA practitioners who are interested in becoming BCBAs. I feel like that's a really great proactive approach to improve our field as a whole. That's my story. [Laughing]
Dr. Tyra Sellers (07:37):
I love that story. I love that you highlighted that journey of continued learning. I love the fact that someone along the way was looking out for you and was a positive influencer and a sponsor in saying, "Hey, I think your skill set and your passion matched for this job. Apply." It's what supervision and mentorship is all about. It's amazing that you had that experience.
Cate Huggins (08:03):
Yeah. Thank you.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (08:05):
Francine, tell us a little bit about some of the experiences that really shaped you as a supervisor, and what's your story?
Francine Holguin (08:15):
My story is very similar to Cate. I started as a BT almost 20 years ago now, and I knew right away that training was something that I loved and I enjoyed, but I don't think it was until probably grad school that I experienced firsthand just how impactful mentorship can really be. I had a professor, Jose Rios, and he would work with previous students on various projects like presentations, publications. He had such a wonderful way of modeling how to build others up. He was very committed with his time. He would meet with us on weekends and give us feedback. It was probably because of Jose that I learned that I could have career goals and it was very impactful in my decision. Fast forward to the middle of my career: I worked in an organization in Southern California under one of my favorite people and mentors, Dr. Tracy Guiou. Tracy was a leader who was very committed to her team's development, and because of that we were able to do so many fun projects together related to supervision. We built an RBT curriculum, a mentoring program for new hires, BCBA field work projects. It was probably under all those years with Tracy and all the mistakes we made, the data we collected and the relationships we established that I realized I really loved supervision. The last couple of years, I've just been trying to absorb as much as I can and learn as much as I can on the topic. I guess I got really lucky a couple years ago when Katie, at my current employer, was looking for someone to oversee their BCBA field work program, because essentially that's what I've been doing ever since.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (10:03):
That's amazing. I love that story about Jose and it particularly illustrates that shift in your mindset from this is a job that results in a paycheck, versus this is a career where I'm gonna learn and grow and evolve, not only as a professional, but as a human from my experiences in this setting. Most of us, who have been in the field a while, think about it as a career. This isn't just a job. I do think that there are probably people in the field now who view it that way. This is just a job. I don't want it to get in the way of my life. They maybe will never have that shift in mindset that this can be a career. It's often a mentor who shows you how amazing it is to help others grow that you start to realize, "Wow, this can be more than just a job. This can be something that's enjoyable and sustaining for decades."
Francine Holguin (11:29):
Cate Huggins (11:30):
Yeah. Linda, I love what you said there. I think the game changer is when a supervisor realizes that those hours that create your career are not just how many billable hours you can get in a week. How many session notes do you sign off? We're working with people. We are supervising people who have thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, and when you shift your mindset into focusing on that person as a whole person, I think that's when you rise into that supervisor mentor mentality.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (12:06):
Absolutely. You increase the chances that they're going to do exactly the same thing for someone else later when they're the supervisor or the mentor. Love that.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (12:18):
I wonder if you two might just take a few minutes to share what sorts of activities or resources or structure did your supervisors along the way use to support your development and growth? Selfishly, I'm always trying to find out what other great people experience so I can grab that and use it for myself. Would you share a little bit about that?
Francine Holguin (12:46):
I'll go ahead and start. In my early years as a trainee, most of the resources I were exposed to were academic related, a lot of journal articles, textbooks. I had a wonderful competency list that was provided by my graduate professor, Dr. Wallace, that led our applied projects, but I don't think it was until probably a couple of years ago where my supervisor, Dr. Paula Kenyon, introduced me to a book that I wish I had as a graduate student. You speak to this in the book and quite a bit Linda, "Getting things done." [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (13:28):
Francine Holguin (13:29):
That book completely changed how I do things. I wish I had it years ago because it's a game changer. It is a book that I try to recommend as frequently as possible and use and incorporate with all supervisees, because I think it could really change your career.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (13:48):
That really speaks to how a great supervisor and mentor changes more than just a skill set or two and when and where and how you get things done, affects all aspects of your life, personal, professional. That system really is a game changer. I'm so glad you had someone give you that kind of resource. I often see BCBAs that are struggling, particularly in that new here's a full caseload kind of experience and a big part of it is because they haven't yet evolved their organization and time management systems for the new challenge. It's a little bit like juggling while standing on one foot and singing all at the same time, which can be done, but [Laughing] not if you don't really know how to get all of those things going at the same time.
Francine Holguin (15:01):
Exactly. It doesn't matter how well you do something if you don't create the time and the systems to execute them well.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (15:09):
Yeah. I super love that. I love your story all the way, and I love research articles and I love behavior analytic content, but I love that one of the things that you are highlighting was a resource around just how to be organized so that you can maximize the good that you do in the world. Thank you for sharing that. How about you, Cate? What were some of the stars in the resources or strategies that your supervisors used with you?
Cate Huggins (15:39):
That's a great question. I think I have two answers to this. One was when I got my fieldwork experience, I'll talk about that, then at the very end, I'd love to talk about my mentors now, because I think it's important that you continue to have mentors as you grow. My current mentor has given me so many resources outside of behavior analysis that I wanna touch on, but let me backtrack before I get ahead of myself. Within my fieldwork experience, I was lucky enough to have two different supervisors, which I think is really important as you develop yourself, as a student in the field. My first supervisor had really high expectations of her students, and I love that. She really expected her students to take ownership of their experience, their documentation, and their supervision. She conducted a lot of in vivo training, which I thought was extremely helpful in me being successful in learning. Some of the resources that she used were the task list and the Cooper book, but she also referenced the literature quite a bit. If there was anything that I asked her questions about, she really put the ownership on me and just said, "Well, have you looked at it in the literature yet before coming to me?" Those kinds of things were extremely helpful for me to get into that habit of referencing the literature, referring to our field, seeing what the field says. I can learn so much from the field versus just one individual. I really thank her for that and then let me jump into my mentor now. I'm not receiving any field work supervision, because I have my eight credentials, but it's still so important that you have mentors. My current mentor has pushed a lot of really great books, outside the field, but still extremely helpful. One of them is "Crucial conversations." I love that book, hands down I recommend it. There's a lot of other different leadership books that I think have been helpful in shaping me in the role that I'm in now and also how I work with practitioners that I oversee right now.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (17:42):
Amazing. Thank you for sharing those resources and your story. I also love "Crucial conversations." Really great, great book. Although tip to listeners, here's what I would recommend: Read the last chapter first, then go back and read all the way through, or the second to the last chapter, because it ties it all together. When I finally got there, the first time I read it, I wish I would've read that chapter first. [Laughing] How about we move into chatting a little bit about what skills you think are important for someone to be an effective training, moving towards success as an independent behavior analyst? Pick your top one or two if you can't just pick one.
Cate Huggins (18:33):
Yeah, sure. I'll go first if you don't mind, Francine. I thought about this question and I think the most important skill is those interpersonal and therapeutic relationship skills. There's two, I really think time management is equally as important because you can't get things done regardless of how personable you are. To start, you really have to be a personable practitioner. I just attended the Maryland ABA conference. Tyra, what's up? Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi had this quote that resonated with me. If you guys don't mind, I'd love to share it. It's about active listening, which I think is an interpersonal and therapeutic relationship skill that is absolutely necessary. Dr. Nasiah said, "How we listen, can shape the reality of what we hear." It is so important, not only for us as supervisors, but also for our supervisees, who we mentor. It's so important how we listen. I would say the most important skill of course, are those interpersonal and therapeutic relationship skills, but more importantly, and more specifically that active listening is key.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (19:43):
I love that. That's amazing. I literally put that quote on Facebook as soon as she said it. [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (19:52):
It also matters for, as you mentioned, that supervisory relationship. If you're a supervisor who is really listening and noticing with the people that you supervise, you are more likely to detect that maybe they don't understand something, but they're a little nervous to bring that up. Maybe they think they understand something a little better than they maybe do or what have you, but that notion of the quality of your listening. It changes how you view things around you and it affects your future actions.
Cate Huggins (20:38):
Just like you said in the book, detecting smoke. I really think you have to be an active listener if you're going to be able to detect that smoke.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (20:45):
Yep, and I think teaching those skills, right? Model them, because that's really important, but then start tacking, debriefing, teaching and shape. I love that. Awesome. How about you, Francine? Cate already took interpersonal communication skills. So how about you?
Francine Holguin (21:05):
I have to agree that I do think problem solving and time management are very important. I will default to interpersonal skills being by far the most important skill. To build upon what you guys have already mentioned, our goal as behavior analyst is to understand behavior within its context and that means understanding motivational operations and learning histories. I'm not sure how well we can really do that without good perspective taking skills and being able to be aware of our own biases and our own judgments and how those might impact our decision making and our analyses. Plus we deal with so many challenging situations and conversations, whether it's with clients or families or colleagues, or as you mentioned, Linda, your supervisees. To get that buy-in and that trust is essential for us to really do our jobs well. That means showing up with compassion and empathy and those good communication skills,
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (22:15):
In a survey study that we did of BCBAs, Bridget Taylor and Nancy Marchese and I, we found that virtually no one had any didactic or coursework instruction in those skills. If they got them, it was through their field work or practicum experiences. Applied experience is carrying the load on this and hopefully it won't always be that way, but it might because there's a lot to learn and to teach. It really puts our provider systems in a position where they need to not only teach these skills, but maybe screen for them. If interpersonal skills overall are a real struggle for someone, they may think this is the field for them because it's so "sciency" and "data-ish," but they are likely to really struggle in their everyday practice responsibilities. Tell me a little bit about how your organizations are helping to create these kinds of learning experiences for your folks focused on those interpersonal skills, communication skills or any others.
Cate Huggins (23:55):
At Hope Bridge, we have a program there called the "Behavior Analyst Fellowship Program." I put together a 14 to 16 month curriculum that incorporates your book and also Kazemi and colleagues' publication in 2019. That book is fire, "Field work and supervision for behavior analysts." Yes. Shout out to her, that book is amazing, and her colleagues. The curriculum includes a month long orientation and this is where we have students come in. They complete the first few chapters of each book along with other very important tasks and ensure a great start to a supervisory relationship. We're making sure they have the correct documentation, they meet the BACB standards, they're both qualified as a supervisor and a supervisee, getting to know each other. We wanna make sure that students and supervisors are alike and they're standing on those solid foundations before they start their experience versus just jumping right in, which could be beneficial, but also could have some lasting effects if it's not done properly. The students are grouped with other individuals in similar spots within their fieldwork experience. They complete four quarterly courses and then each month they focus on a specific topic. Each student attends group supervision meetings with me as their course instructor. We focus on the importance of that topic. They get additional resources, whether it be journal articles, assessments, these podcasts I love to share. Any organizations that are outside of the field that maybe are related, any trainings, whatever it may be. They complete unrestricted hour activities that are rooted in each topic. I've developed an assignment per month regarding your book or Kazemi's book. Just as an example, last month my course for students focused on chapter 12 of your book. Planning for a sustained career and lifelong growth. In our group supervision, we discussed burnout, self-care. I gave them some different self-care resources and then, of course, their unrestricted hour opportunities that were rooted in self-care and essentially creating a self-care plan for themselves before they jump into the role. [Laughing]. Students really journey through both books as they coincide with one another and then they end with that study group and a space to prepare for the exam.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (26:23):
Cate Huggins (26:27):
It's a whole big thing, but it's amazing. I am super proud of it. We've received a lot of great feedback from both the students and the supervisors who are partaking in the book.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (26:40):
It sounds fantastic. I'm not surprised that you've received a lot of great feedback and my guess is that a lot of the core stuff, sounds like you've designed it in a way that really maximizes those opportunities to get the unrestricted hours and to make the most of group supervision which I find a lot of people underutilize. They're not really sure what all you would do in group supervision other than individual stuff. [Laughing] The notion of using a lot of this content and that group supervision framework for this support is a great one.
Cate Huggins (27:33):
Yeah. Both books are really structured nicely to create coursework. They start out at the beginning of supervision and they end at the end of supervision. It's really nice to pair students together with other students that are in a similar spot because we can all learn from each other, regardless of what position we're in. A lot of students bring some fire to the table when I have group supervision opportunities and meetings and activities. I learn from them and I know that other students can learn from each other in that way as well.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (28:04):
I love that. That was amazing. Super obsessed with your whole plan and layout. I love how it's thoughtfully crafted to build on those core foundational skills before you jump into other skills that might not be acquired as robustly, if you didn't have those foundation skills first, and the idea of really creating cohorts, where folks can support each other, start building a community of practice. You get multiple exemplars, you get more feedback opportunities, both for seeing it being delivered and received, also for receiving it and delivering it. That's incredible. Thank you for sharing that.
Cate Huggins (28:45):
Thanks so much.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (28:46):
How about you, Francine? What's happening at Kadient?
Francine Holguin (28:50):
I think one way Kadient is really trying to incorporate all these pivotal skills early on during the training process, as well as ongoing with experience based. When your book originally came out, we were just about to design our field work curriculum. It was important for us to not only include case conceptualization and task list items, but really spend time focusing on those pivotal professional skills like problem solving and the interpersonal skills. When it came out, I read it and I was like, "Ah, I need to incorporate all of this into our manual and all of these really important details." I remember emailing you, Linda and asking if we could use the book as a resource for our curriculum. You guys were gracious enough to say yes. All of these chapters have been applied systematically in our curriculum as we build new BCBAs and supervisors. About six months ago, I was actually asked to step back in and serve as a director in one of our regions. I'd be overseeing a team of more experienced BCBAs. It was actually interesting because I referenced this book way more with my experienced BCBAs than I ever imagined. [Laughing] It's funny. It turns out you don't actually just learn these skills once and you're done, but you truly have to revisit and refine. It has been really fun and cool because as situations come up, I now have more resources to address them within the context. It's been so interesting to see it in both spectrums of a new trainee, but the experienced BCBAs and how we're incorporating the same skills and revisiting the same skills, but in such different ways.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (30:48):
It's so true. As we were writing the book, we had this ongoing identity crisis of, "Are we writing this for newbies or are we writing this for experienced people?" There was a point at which we said, "Well, we don't have to pick one". [Laughing] Why wouldn't you just come back three or four years later? The content's the same, but what you bring to the book is your own experiences and how they influence how you perceive the various self-reflection exercises and activities. Your answers are going to be different. Your reading of the importance of material is going to be really different when you are 5 years in,10 years in, 20 years in. I am so glad that it actually worked out the way that we hoped because as we were doing it, it was like, "Oh my gosh, we keep switching back and forth from perspective." Is this gonna feel like one of those Jason Bourne movies where the camera's always jumping around or is it gonna feel like a uniform experience, but just a different uniform experience to different people?
Cate Huggins (32:14):
Yeah. As a supervisor, I've loved being able to see it in that capacity with the experienced BCBAs, because I get more immediate feedback. They can take it and apply it right away within context and then right away, I can see this worked or maybe this didn't work as well as we planned or let's adjust. From that piece of it, I do feel like I'm way more prepared as a leader.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (32:40):
I love that. Linda's description is exactly what was happening. I think part of it was because while we were working on the content, we were learning new things and we were re-experiencing things that we thought we knew well, inviting each of our perspectives and growing ourselves, thinking we all have 20 plus easy years individually, and we are learning from doing this. I guess it's gonna be relevant for everyone. [Laughing]
Cate Huggins (33:12):
Yeah, I second that. One thing that I love about this book is that I'm sharing it with our BCBA supervisors and with our students. Naturally, for our students, it's a requirement as in the program, but our supervisors are hungry for it. They wanna learn more, they wanna do better themselves. It's been a really nice resource for both sets of positions, regardless of where you're at, for how many years, I think everybody can learn something from it.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (33:39):
That's awesome. I'm glad to know that it worked out, because sometimes you're making a new recipe and you're like, "I don't know how this is gonna taste to everybody," but I'm glad that it worked out the way we have...
Cate Huggins (33:51):
A little of this, dash of that.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (33:53):
[Laughing] That's right. Exactly. Fantastic. I would love to know, what some of the things are that were maybe challenging or unexpected about the content in the book? Either for you all or for folks that are using the content with. Were there things that people didn't connect with or that they really struggled with in a good way? I'm interested to know those sorts of things.
Cate Huggins (34:29):
For me, and sorry Francine, I'm just gonna jump right into this question. [Laughing]
Francine Holguin (34:34):
Go for it.
Cate Huggins (34:34):
One thing that I found the most challenging, but I would say this is more directed towards those students who are starting, sometimes ABA creates a black and white framework, right? If you come in with this black and white framework of how you're supposed to get your hours or what the hours are supposed to look like, I think you come in with a false hope maybe. The feedback that I got from students, at least at the beginning of their experience, is maybe applying some of the resources were hard for them to their individual practice. In these moments, I explained that the appendixes that you have provided are merely resources and models for supervisors and students to use, and that everything should be adapted to practice and we should be doing the same thing that we do for our clients, for our students, right? We of course meet them where they're at. We adapt, we change it to their individual experience and rather than getting hung up on the difference between their practice and your appendix. Figuring out how to use that resource is exactly where I found a lot of my back and forth communication on challenges with students, but really helpful to show them, "Hey, this is a way for us to modify to best fit our needs and our practice, consider our values, our vision and make sure that that's in here as well."
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (35:58):
I love that. You're doing them a great service by showing them the gray. I think if you're attracted to this field because of its precision, and that black and white, rightness is overly appealing to you, and you don't begin to see some of the opportunities for flexibility, it's gonna later kick you in the hiny with that whole interpersonal skills. As soon as being right is your goal, you've blown it. We can very often set our trainees up to view the right, the precise, the exact as the good and all the rest is the bad, which then limits some of their variability and ability to adapt later on. By showing them that over and over again, you may potentially be giving them a better framework to view things that's gonna help them later in their career.
Cate Huggins (37:15):
It's almost like you could create an entire chapter on the gray of behavior analysis and have that in there as, "Hey, I know you're in this field. I know you're excited. I know you're here for precision, but wait, there's gray." [Laughing]
Dr. Tyra Sellers (37:29):
Yeah, I absolutely agree. Thank you so much for sharing that feedback. It's interesting, because every time we started to create a resource, all three of us honestly had very open and sometimes heated discussions about if we put this resource, or we put this example, or we put this template in there is everybody gonna think, "This is how we are saying you have to do this always and forever and there is no other appropriate way." I think that sometimes we do, as Linda mentioned, and you said, Cate run that risk. That's really good feedback for us, Linda, for a future addition. Maybe to have a little section on, "Listen, we're just providing an example." You go to Baskin 'n Robbins, you get 31 flavors. This is just one of them. You could do this thing a million different ways and it would still be right. We're just giving you a place to start if you don't have a place to start. I love that that was their struggle. Like, "Ah, [Laughing] that doesn't look exactly like what I'm doing."
Cate Huggins (38:35):
Absolutely. I was just gonna say embracing that gray was a good opportunity to show them. In chapter eight you had provided a sample task plan and your assessment in the task plan looked different from what we do at Hope Bridge. Just slightly, but I'm letting them consider the insurance companies, the population that we're working with. There's so many variables to consider. The appendix is a great resource, but embrace the gray and adapt it to your practice.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (39:09):
Make your own. [Laughing] We thought about actually putting it in there blank for exactly that reason. Someone would come along and say, "This isn't exactly what I need. I can't use it." You mentioned that notion of having a supervisor who is always encouraging you first go to the literature, see what's there, and then tell me about how you might use that. I think, particularly early on, there can be almost like a match to sample thing. If this is exactly what I need, I found it. If it's really close and applicable, but I have to modify it a little bit, it might not hit the target as quite as relevant.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (40:03):
It's like imitation versus discriminating, right? Discriminating which pieces are relevant and going to be successful and why, and using those and throwing out the stuff that's extraneous or doesn't quite meet your needs.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (40:16):
I think it'd be awesome. Maybe for the next one, we're trying to develop more electronic resources. What we could potentially do is create that assessment template plan with the specifics all blanked out. Here's an example, now build your own with your specifics.
Cate Huggins (40:37):
I do love that you provided the details in there, because it was a great learning opportunity for me and students. I have to say, I'm glad you put that in there. I could help them, differentiate a model versus current practice, but your electronic resources that you have provided, those PDF fillables, are game changer. They're extremely helpful for students and supervisors. Thank you guys for providing those.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (41:02):
Oh, I love that. I'm gonna give a shout out to my oldest son, Max Sellers, who actually made all of those for us because we were like, "Ah, we need these for people right now." He wasn't doing anything, waiting to start college. I was like, "Hey, Max. I have a job for you." [Laughing] He got them done.
Cate Huggins (41:22):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (41:22):
He did a great job. We totally had a family affair because my son, who was also about to go off to college, I was like, "Hey, I need to create an author index."
Dr. Tyra Sellers (41:34):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (41:36):
About your mama. [Laughing]
Dr. Tyra Sellers (41:36):
That's right. Yes, thank you, Cody Carr, you rocked it out. Francine, what about struggles or frustrations? I mean, and again, they don't have to be like, "Man, we didn't like this," although we wanna know about that stuff too. Other things maybe that eventually were really useful, but also kind of "struggly".
Francine Holguin (41:56):
Yeah. I don't think there was anything or any part of the book that everybody didn't enjoy. I will say the struggles that I encountered the most are somewhat related to embracing mistakes and knowing that you're not gonna have the answers and that's okay. I see such a motivation and a desire to do things well and perfectly like you guys were mentioning. You wanna hit that precision and be right. I think understanding that this is the time and place to make mistakes and then learn, take those as learning opportunities and that's okay. As a supervisor to make sure we're making it a safe place to learn and to make those mistakes. I will say overall, the greatest challenge that I'm seeing, is not letting something interrupt your future decision making, not letting a mistake interrupt your confidence and really taking what you could do differently next time or what went well and what didn't go well. Using that and applying it in the future, as opposed to thinking that I'm gonna learn and I'm gonna have all the answers and then I'm gonna know exactly how to take every situation and know what to do.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (43:20):
I love that. Linda, that's good feedback for us. Maybe we need to start singing that song even earlier. Maybe that's the first line, "Guess what, everybody? You're gonna make mistakes and that's great." [Laughing]
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (43:35):
Francine Holguin (43:36):
In the last chapter, you guys touch upon that and I love it because it's so important. I think I look back to how many mistakes I made in my career and all the things I wish I maybe didn't quite do that or do it that way. Ultimately, most of those have been the things that taught me to do something better or to do it differently. I think just that being a recurring theme of, "It's okay." Make sure that you embrace the reinforcement, [Laughing] but you also embrace the feedback and incorporate that throughout.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (44:16):
Absolutely. I don't know that I ever imagined that students would be using this book very early in their graduate training. I was imagining towards the end, where you're really beginning to learn to supervise, that's when you would encounter it. There are lots of ways to use it, love Ellie's book as a "Get started" [Laughing] and then leading into hours, but that notion of you're probably gonna be better off, as a supervisor, if as a brand new "you're not even the shiny penny yet." You're still being molded into a coin, you start to realize what's great about a practicum opportunity is that it's safe to make mistakes, because I do think we all carry a pretty hefty negative connotation of mistakes. It might be worthwhile to add that in earlier, in maybe even chapter one where it's like, "These are what supervisors and mentors and sponsors are, and this is what a mistake is." Guess what? It goes in that category of teacher and facilitator of your learning if you approach it right. Let me ask you this. We got to the end of the book and we were already like, "Oh my God, that's so many words. I can't write any more words." And then we were like, "Ah, we didn't put much in about group supervision", [Laughing] even though we love that. We know people really need those kinds of resources. Having read and used the book, what are your thoughts about whether there should be a chapter on group supervision or even for each of the chapters? Here's a way that you could apply this or use this in a group supervision context.
Cate Huggins (46:51):
Yes. I love that. Just plugging it into each chapter on how you can effectively create a group supervision activity or presentation or resource build for each one of these. I think that would be game changer for sure.
Francine Holguin (47:08):
Cate Huggins (47:11):
Tyra, didn't you write an article in Behavior Analysis and Practice on group supervision? Is that you?
Dr. Tyra Sellers (47:17):
It was Linda and me, but the first author is our lovely, fantastic, hardworking, amazing colleague, Dr. Amber Valentino.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (47:26):
Amber Valentino, we love you.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (47:26):
Yes. She provided resources and the appendixes and that is just an amazing article. She really knocked that one out of the park.
Francine Holguin (47:42):
Yeah. Group supervision is such a perfect time to learn from your supervisor, but more importantly to learn from each other and those dynamics and the interaction. I personally think my most favorite activity of the week is group supervision. I would love to have all of these topics as already included, but to have that as part of the book with additional resources.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (48:08):
Yeah. Those are great ideas. I love those. Do you have other things from the book that stood out or were super helpful that people really connected to or made a big difference in their experience or learning trajectory? Do you have any faves?
Cate Huggins (48:32):
Yes. I am a big, big, big, big, big fan of the supervision monitoring and evaluation form. I think that one is a fantastic resource. Not only for supervisors to see what the expectation is, but also for supervisees or those trainees that you're working with to see what that expectation is. I love that. That was in chapter 10.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (48:53):
That's from Turner and Luicelli. A big shout out to them. They allowed us to reprint that wonderful resource and you're exactly right. If the supervisee has a checklist for you, supervisor... [Laughing] Guess what you better be doing? Up your game. I love that notion of it is about bidirectional feedback and it is about full transparency. I have these expectations of you, but you should also have expectations of me and that's part of how we have to interact with everyone.
Cate Huggins (49:38):
That very closely relates to what you said in the interpersonal chapter on accountability and integrity. That checklist very closely relates to holding both parties accountable for what should happen in a supervisory session.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (49:53):
Yeah. I love that. How about you, Francine? Any favorites?
Francine Holguin (49:57):
Oh, so many favorites. Which one should I pick? I think I'm gonna keep going back to the interpersonal therapeutic skills. I love that chapter because I think the way you broke down the skills into the five essential components, for me, was remarkable because you take something that's so complex and a huge set of skills and you make it very actionable and digestible for others. I think for me, as a supervisor, it gave me such a great starting point to have these conversations with our trainees and to be able to address them individually, but also explain how they interrelate and all of the resources that were in that chapter. Ways to address conflict, either with a caregiver, with a supervisor. I love all of those documents because it really allows you to address individual situations as they occur. I think that one is my favorite.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (51:04):
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (51:04):
Yay! So glad you like it. It may well be part of why people don't teach these kinds of skill sets in their behavioral analytic graduate courses. They find it hard to operationalize them and nail it down and that makes them a little, maybe uncomfortable, or it could just be they're too busy doing other things that are also interesting. That notion of we've gotta be able to at least give people a list to begin to work on. If they work on these five, a whole lot of the rest might start to take care of themselves.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (51:46):
Yeah. Linda, do you have a favorite?
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (51:52):
Of course I like chapter three, about the mentor tree, and the self-reflection and really exploring your own learning history and I like the problem-solving chapter. I think so much of where we don't learn is because of fear and avoidance. We don't notice it, we wanna not acknowledge a mistake because that somehow feels aversive to us. The fact that maybe we can just contextualize everything as data. It's just part of the package, part of what's coming at you, something that you learn from and eliminate some of that fear of, "I won't know the answer, I already know how to problem solve, so this is just another problem," and get cracking. Those are probably some of my favorites.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (52:59):
Francine Holguin (53:01):
How about yours, Tyra?
Dr. Tyra Sellers (53:03):
I love chapter four on culturally responsive practices and the fact that content is woven throughout the other chapters.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (53:22):
Shout out to Shahla Ala'i-Rosales.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (53:24):
A hundred percent shout out to Shahla for that and for teaching me so much through the process. My very favorite thing is quite specific though, and it's really simple. Actually Linda wrote it and it's something that, since the book, some colleagues of mine who don't even necessarily work in applied behavior analysis have used and found it incredibly useful. It is a question that is in, I think, an appendix in chapter two. The question basically is to the supervisee: "How would you like to give me feedback?" and then it gives prompts. Would you like to just tell me in the moment, would you like us to add an agenda? Would you like to think about it and email me back? I thought that was such an incredibly brilliant thing to tack and put on paper because we talk about it and give a lot of lip service to telling your people you want them to give you feedback, but do we ever literally ask in that very direct way? I think that one tiny thing, if that's all you took from the entire book, that would be a gift that would pay dividends forever. That would've been like investing in Amazon however many years ago and you would be super rich now. As a lot of my colleagues say, that is a gem that you could miss. It's just one little, couple sentences, but it is really, really important.
Cate Huggins (54:56):
I love that you said that. Something that they do at Hope Bridge is something called an impression. It's usually a public display of a shout out, basically. When I first started at the company, I was pretty energized to set myself up and establish myself as positive reinforcement. I'm throwing out impressions left and right, and everyone can see it. I noticed on the impressions that it has an opportunity for public versus private impression. Just randomly, I was working with this RBT and I said, "Hey, do you prefer public or private impressions?" That RBT in particular preferred private and I was like, "All right, this is a learning opportunity for me." Going forward, I really tried to figure out the individualized preference for receiving feedback and for giving feedback. Just like you're saying, Tyra: "Making sure," and it changed. I asked every single consultation, "If I have feedback for you today, would you prefer public? Would you prefer private? In front of people? Not in front of people?" I asked all the questions, "Written? Would you prefer to review it later? How do you want it?" [Laughing] I think that's so, so important and I learned that early on at Hope Bridge and I loved that.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (56:12):
Awesome. Yeah. Collectively, the research is pretty clear. There are some things we can work out with parameters, but mostly just ask the person, because they know best.
Cate Huggins (56:20):
Francine Holguin (56:21):
Actually funny that you bring that up, Tyra because we use that at the beginning of our relationships. I had a brand new trainee one day ask to meet with me to give me feedback. She brought up the form that we completed together, exploring collaborations, about the feedback preferences and the goals. She pulled it up and used that as a reference to give me feedback, using my preference, tied it back to her goals. I thought not only was that super brave for her to do, but I loved how she used that resource almost as a permanent product of our commitment to give each other feedback, to always reach for our goals and to come back to that and being the foundation of our relationship. It was funny because I didn't see that document in that manner before, [Laughing] but once she did that, I totally stole that move. I used that form as part of our ongoing conversation, something that we revisit and we pull it up and are things still the same? Are the goals? Is this still the way you prefer feedback? To give me feedback, and that has been a game changer and something that I didn't think about, so intentionally before.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (57:38):
I love that so much and go back and tell her thank you from Linda and Tyra, specifically. When we do a new version, we will 100% include a reminder that's what you should do. Even as a trainee, you can pull that out and use it to support you and that will be our little secret shout out specifically to that person that was so courageous and did such a fantastic job.
Francine Holguin (58:05):
Yeah. It was just so eye opening for me when she did that. Really the goal of it and just how that could be used. I will let her know because I love it.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (58:16):
You must have felt so proud of her. Like, "Oh my God, you're fantastic. That is totally walking the walk."
Francine Holguin (58:22):
I did. She pulled it up and was very brave in the moment, gave me the feedback and I was able to change things and it was beautiful.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (58:33):
I love it. Thanks to you both so much for joining us today. The time has flown by.
Dr. Tyra Sellers (58:39):
I don't want it to be over.
Dr. Linda LeBlanc (58:41):
[Laughing] I don't either, but it was really wonderful to hear about how you're using this resource and a lot of other wonderful resources in your organizations. Thank you for the ideas for things that we can do in the next version of it. For all you listeners, this will not be the end of The Lift. We will have other episodes, in general on supervision and on new resources coming your way in the new year. For today, thank you, Cate. Thank you, Francine. Thank you ,Tyra for joining us for episode 14 of The Lift.