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Episode 203 | Therapist Burnout Prevention with Shannon Heers


WITH Shannon Heers

  • Episode 203 | Therapist Burnout Prevention with Shannon Heers 00:00


Hey Group Practice Listeners! Are you wondering if a supervisor also needs supervision? Think no more because having supervision is highly suggested to bring more quality services. 

With Shannon Heers, we will be exploring the significance of having supervision on supervision. She is a licensed professional counselor and an approved clinical supervisor. Together with her experiences and expertise, we will be guided through the need for supervision.

Episode Highlights: 

  • How did Shannon come up with her supervision/consultation program? 
  • Why is it better to have even a small amount of clinical support than none? 
  • Where will audio and/or videotaping help in navigating supervision? 
  • What are clinician burnout and its causes? 
  • How could Firelight Supervision give their services? 

Get in touch with Shannon: 

Check out her services through her website, firelightsupervision.comor through her Instagram,

This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.

Do you ever wish for a financial therapist who could relieve you from the last few months of bookkeeping, talk you off the edge when you’re running into issues with Quickbooks, or help you work through a profit plan for growth? GreenOak Accounting does just that! GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with group practices. Their value goes WAY beyond bookkeeping; they can help you get on track for financial success. Schedule a free consultation by going to


Maureen Werrbach

Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Group Practice Exchange Podcast. This week I have Shannon hears with me and she is from Firelight Supervision. And we’re gonna be talking about clinical supervision and support to your therapist as a group practice owner. I know this is a topic that comes up a lot, so I’m excited to have her on.

Hi Shannon. Hi Maureen. Thanks so much for having me. Yeah. So tell the audience why is this a topic that is of interest to you and what’s your background when it comes to clinical supervision and group practice ownership. Sure. Why don’t I start with my background and then kind of get into why I think this topic is really important for group practice owners?

So I’m Shannon hears. I’m a licensed professional counselor, certified addictions specialist, and approved clinical supervisor. I own a group practice located in Colorado, catalyst counseling, and then we also just launched a clinical supervision and clinical consultation program that is open to. Kind of anyone anywhere called Firelight Supervision.

And a little bit of why we launched Firelight Supervision is because in our group practice, both myself and several other of our therapists who are also supervisors, have been providing clinical supervision and consultation for the last few years. And the need just became so great in our community, in ours.

State that we could not fit everything we wanted to do under the umbrella of our group practice. , right? A good problem to have. And so we figured out if the need was so great where we are. Clearly, there’s a big need everywhere for both quality, supervision and quality and specialized clinical consultation services.

And so I look at consultation services as once you’re licensed. Because as we all know, clinical supervision doesn’t necessarily stop when you’re licensed, but a lot of people, make the choice to do that because of finances. They feel like they’re independently licensed. They don’t need that support anymore, but yet it takes years and years and years to become.

Being An accomplished therapist and getting your own clinical consultation is one of the best ways to do that. So that’s a little bit about why we kind of separated the supervision out from our group practice. That makes a lot of sense. I notice, and I’m sure you’ve seen this too, especially around group practice ownership questions around.

The group practice owner provides supervision and concerns around dual relationships and that kind of thing. What is your opinion or your thoughts on that and what suggestions do you give to group practice owners who are hiring people who need supervision and who might not need it, but everyone?

Needs it at some point, right? Sure. Even for sure. Yeah, sure. Well, I’ll say to start with any amount of clinical support you can provide, your therapist is better than none. So do what you can to start off with if you don’t have the budget or you don’t have other therapists for your other supervisors, you can refer your staff to provide the actual clinical support.

Then start out doing it yourself. Cuz like I said, that’s better than nothing. There does become a conflict of interest when you, as the practice owner are providing either supervision or consultation to your therapist though. And the conflict becomes like, what needs out the needs of the therapist or the needs of the practice, you know?

So maybe as a group practice owner, if I’m providing clinical supervision or consultation to one of my therapists and they’re approaching burnout, they’re saying they wanna cut back a little. And as a supervisor, I wanna be supportive of that, saying, okay, let’s see how we can figure that out. Let’s do that.

But the need to the practice or such that I need them to work X number of direct service hours per week. And so who wins in that scenario when you’re playing both roles? So if you can, if your practice. You know, becomes big enough, or even if you just have one or two people who need that supervision, can you look externally?

Can you pay someone 60 to $150 an hour to provide that supervision rather than bringing it in-house? And that might actually be worth your money anyway. Cause maybe your clinical hourly rate is higher than what you’re paying out. So you’re still gonna come up ahead if you’re doing. So I would say you can try to separate them out because that’s the best practice that will support your therapists the best, and you’ll be able to support your practice needs the best.

Also, that makes a lot of sense, and I feel like it’s also a great way as a group practice to be able to offer growth opportunities for your existing clinicians who might be a good fit for providing supervision in the future. Absolutely. That’s a really great point because you can’t become a good clinical supervisor unless you’ve had good clinical supervision.

Yeah. You know, it’s not like you just learn how to do it. I mean, yes, you can go to training and do that, but it’s kind of like becoming a therapist. Do you know? We encourage everyone to kind of do their own work and invest in their own therapy. Not only enhances your work as a clinician. Well, it’s the same as a supervisor.

If you’ve never had quality supervision or you’re not getting it, how are you going to be able to provide that to other theists? That makes sense. Um, what I’m noticing is that in a lot of group practices, there’s a lot of discussion around delegation these days. I know it’s something that I talk about. A lot of people are talking about how to delegate more so that you.

Aren’t having to do all of the roles as a group practice owner. So most of our license types, I know you’re an LPC, and I’m an LPC. Like most of our license types require us to get supervision training as part of our ces, at least here in Illinois it’s required. And I know that a lot of group practices will have one of their existing therapists provide supervision when they’ve only either done the basic license renewal requirement for supervision or maybe aren’t actually great at providing supervision.

They might be a great clinician, but those two things don’t always go hand in hand. Just cuz you’re a great clinician doesn’t mean you will be a great supervisor. What is your feedback on that question, and also what suggestion do you give to practice owners when it comes to, let’s say, bringing someone internally on to provide supervision, who you should be looking for and who you shouldn’t be looking for?

Oh, those are great questions. If I can remember that. I’ll try to adjust them both. I’m sorry. I am known for the five-part question. It’s okay. So I would say kind of who you’re looking to bring in as a clinical supervisor is really someone who is passionate about it, who has some training, who has some experience.

I would say a lot of states are actually moving towards having a requirement to become a supervisor in that. State for different licensure types. So make sure you’re aware of your state’s laws for that. And even if your state doesn’t, you might wanna look into it. There’s now a national designation that not all states are looking for, but the acs, which is the approved clinical supervisor, and requires to have X number of years in clinical practice post-graduate.

It requires you to have a minimum of 45 hours in clinical supervision training, which is a lot, and X number of hours providing supervision before you can get that credential. So that’s a really good credential to look for when you’re looking to bring someone in, someone who’s either got that or who is pursuing that.

But I would say if you’re having someone do clinical supervision who doesn’t have any training or minimal training and isn’t getting their own supervision of supervision, cuz that’s actually a service, you know out there now, then I would be a little bit wary. Like, how do you know that they’re providing quality supervision?

So I always encourage everyone to kind of get the training that you feel like you need to at least start out. And as you’re able to get more training, get more training, and also invest in your own supervision of supervision with an experienced supervisor who has supervised other clinical supervisors.

Oh my goodness, . I don’t know how many supervisors said in there as a group practice. What are some ways? Practice owners can ensure that their own supervisors, like how can they be tracking without, obviously those supervisors are being paid by the business so that the role that they wanna make sure that they’re fulfilling accurately, as well as the clinicians that they’re supervising, are also employed by the business and practice owners wanna ensure that they’re providing, you know, best possible care.

How can group practice owners ensure? Everything is running smoothly when it comes to the supervisor and supervisee relationship and expectations and documentation. That’s a good question. And you also need to check in on how much of this is the role of the practice owner. You know, if you’re hiring a supervisor, who you trust, those are the roles of the supervisor to make sure that the supervision advisory relationship is going well, the documentation is on track, all of that stuff.

I think you’ll get into trouble when you’re hiring someone who’s more inexperienced. One of the things that we do with all of our supervisees is we require videotaping or audio taping of their sessions every so often, and that’s a great way to check in with her, how they’re doing, and really see things.

That’s also something you could do with newer supervisors. Ask them to videotape a session with a supervisee, so that could be one way. Now, that puts a lot of burden on the practice owner to look over those tapes and really spend a lot of time doing that training and overseeing of that. But I guess it really comes down to.

Knowing who you’re hiring and that they got quality training and oversight. Again, encouraging them to get their own supervision of supervision. That makes sense. What do you notice is the biggest issue that group practice owners are encountering or that you’re encountering with group practice owners who you’re supporting?

When it comes to supervision, they’re offering supervision in theirs. Yeah, so let’s generalize that a little bit. I think one of the biggest issues right now for group practice owners is hiring and retaining staff. , especially right now, it’s just really hard to find quality therapists. And if you as a group practice owner, you’re able to provide exceptional clinical support, not just as a, oh yeah, and we also provide this, but no, we really emphasize clinical support in our practice, and we.

These opportunities, and if you’re looking for something specialized that we don’t offer, I’ll pay for a once a month. You do attend a once-a-month clinical consultation group in your specialty area. So I think those things can be really attractive to retaining, to bringing in, and also retaining therapists.

We can also talk about clinician burnout, and I think that happens when you’re not getting enough support, whether it’s personal support, clinical support, or. Business support as a group practice owner. So I do think while clinical consultation isn’t the answer to everything, it is a good answer and it is a good option and it can be cost-effective if you can’t bring someone in to send someone to an external group or individual supervisor at least once a month.

Yeah, that makes. If you had to give at least one piece of feedback to the practice owner who is bringing on provisionally licensed folks or people who need supervision, what piece of feedback would you give them around supervision? I would say make the most of your time. So bringing on two supervisees is not much more work than bringing on.

So how can you maximize your time as a group practice owner? Because once you bring in two, then you can start doing triad or group supervision, and you can’t do that every week. But then you bring on maybe three or four. That does get a little bit more, but how can you maximize your time with people?

Certainly figure out, it’s a lot more work bringing on a supervisee than a lot of us. We group practice owners. We’re usually advanced clinicians. We know how to do the work. We can do it pretty much without a lot of thought or effort. A lot of us, but newer supervisees are just in a completely different area, developmentally than we are.

Yeah, and we tend to forget that. You know, little things like ending your sessions on time, right? Or how do you collect a payment, which could be supervision topics, or how do you keep the session going without becoming too far ahead of where your client is? Stuff that we just intrinsically know because of our experience, these supervisees don’t know, you know, it’s always good.

Also, if you have the time to kind of create a plan about different topics you want to address throughout their couple years of supervision. That makes sense. You mentioned you have a supervisor. Is it for supervisors or supervisees? This firelight supervision? Yes, so firelight supervision, we actually provide all of that.

We provide clinical supervision. We’re only in a few states now because as you know, states have to be licensed in those states. So we provide individual group supervision in Colorado, Texas, and Washington. And we provide clinical consultation to therapists, both individual and in group formats to anyone, anywhere.

It’s all virtual. We have some really cool consultation groups like we have one for neurodivergent therapists. We have one for therapists who practice from a psychodynamic perspective, one for H S P, a highly sensitive person therapist, and one that’s a trauma consultation group. Just really. Specialty areas as well as our generalized consultation groups.

Those meet once to twice a month. And then we also offer, as I said before, supervision of supervision services. So if you’re pursuing your acs or if you’re a new supervisor, you’re bringing on an intern or a supervisee, or you’re more experienced and you just want kind of that support group to come together to talk about your supervision, we offer that.

So both individually in a group. Yeah. And so those are kind of a full spectrum of services for supervision and consultation. And, uh, what’s the name of the website? It’s Firelight Supervision, so just firelight, f I r e L I g h t Awesome. I appreciate you coming on and sharing that knowledge around supervision and how to ensure just group practices do not sort of step on the toes of those that are providing supervision, as well as providing space for the supervisees to get the type of supervision they need without it being focused on the practice over.

The clinician. Yes. There is a way to do it all. Yeah, there is. So I appreciate it. And then is there any other place that they can reach out to you if they wanna learn more about your services? Sure. Just info firelight On our website, you can schedule free phone consultations with any of our supervisors.

It lists all of our different consultation groups as well as the supervisor who is running. You can schedule a free phone consultation with them. Yeah. So I think there are a lot of ways to reach out. Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and, and talking with me, and it’s nice to finally meet the sort of in person.

Yes. Thanks so much, Maureen. This was wonderful. I’m a big fan of your podcast. Thank you. Have a good one. You too. Take care. Thanks for listening to the Group Practice Exchange Podcast. Like what you heard. Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support. Join the Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of training ready for you to dive into.

Visit See you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


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Meet your host


Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


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Episodes are structured into categories: coaching sessions where I coach a group practice owner on a specific topic, tips of the day by yours truly, real talk where you get to be a fly on the wall while an established group practice owner and I talk about the highs and lows of ownership, and trainings done by experts in the field.

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