Clinical Supervision is Not What You Think…..
Linda Bishopp MA Psychotherapy, DMS, TFTAlg., Dip. Couns., Reg MBACP, MCThA, MTHF
I am training at the moment to be a supervisor and am offering free supervision until the end of this year (2019).
My qualification means I can supervise psychotherapists and counsellors, but also other types of therapist and, indeed, anyone who works in a relationship with others e.g. social workers, Police Officers, teachers etc.
There are many different types of therapist and professions who could be enormously helped by having supervision who have never experienced it, and therefore, perhaps have some erroneous ideas about what it is. The word ‘supervision’ implies that there is a management element in it; that the supervisor will be telling you what to do in a boss-like scenario. This is not the case.
Supervision enables insight into the dynamics of your relationships with your clients (I use the word ‘clients’, though depending on your profession, you may use another word); offers support to you as you support your clients; you can discuss professional matters and legal compliance, and you can receive mentoring on business and practice matters.
Your supervisor would normally be a more experienced therapist than you, however, you work in equality together, to work towards you being the best therapist/professional for your client. It supports you when you are tired, perhaps when a client has drained your energy and you were unaware of this; it enables you to understand the effects of your communication style; it enables insight into the dynamics of the therapist/client relationship and so much more.
It is actually difficult to describe the feelings of greater confidence, understanding and competence gained from such a valuable learning experience until you have experienced it yourself. Just having a confidential space to discuss your feelings about your work is so supportive.
So, supervision can be supportive to many types of therapist and many professions – anyone who is in relationship with their client: hypnotherapy, NLP, homeopathy, healing, Reiki, and others, as well as the normally accepted counselling and psychotherapy.
Here is a definition of supervision from ‘Practical Supervision’ by Henderson, Holloway & Millar:
‘Supervision is not the same as management, nor is it like direct work with clients, patients or service users. It requires different frames of thought and some new skills. It is consultative, exploratory and essentially non-judgemental, not ordinarily a time to declare what the supervisee must do. It is a boundaried, purposeful relationship with time limits and defined tasks and responsibilities, which means it is not a friendship. Nevertheless, it is most enabling when all parties relax, enjoy being together and feel free to be fully themselves, whether articulating embarrassing or awkward matters or straightforwardly exchanging information. It is designed to support and enable reflective practice. In ideal circumstances it is a place to ‘play’ in the best sense and loosen knotted thinking and tangled emotions.’