Some thoughts on good Supervision
“If the value and experience of good supervision are realized at the beginning of one’s professional career, then the ‘habit’ of receiving good supervision will become an integral part of the work life and the continuing development of the worker”
Hawkins and Shoeht
I love this because I have had good supervision from the second year of my training and this continued on with another supervisor when I began to work privately too. My Supervisor has been a nurturing container, a tutor and a life line. I believe that supervision needs to be a container for emotional disturbance where the supervisee is reassured as well as challenged in a way that can be reflected upon enabling him/her to grow confidently in his/her professional capacity. This is exactly what my experience has been and continues to be. It has certainly been a fundamental part of my continuing development as a therapist.
With good supervision you can feel confident in your work and be assured that your clients are getting the help they need. It can be what keeps you from giving up because you feel unable to cope and not good enough because for example, someone at work seems better than you. Or, it can help you to slow down and realize that all that is needed is to be more of my authentic self with this client because that is what she/he responds too, not to any intervention / technique etc.
What I enjoy
It is most rewarding for me when my Supervisor brings my clients into the room and seems to embody their experience at the same time as holding mine. I always find this to be the most powerful help because at the same time she is able to be the clinician with a ‘super’ ‘vision’ into what is most needed for the therapeutic process / relationship. This in turn is what I do with my own Supervisees!
Working with a Mental health charity here in South Wales is showing me that as supervisors we have a commitment more so than any to continually learn and be knowledgeable. Not just about policies and laws, interventions and techniques, but more about just being authentic, open hearted and all the nuances that go with holding the space, all coming back to Rogers’ core conditions. Knowing that there are three people in the room (perhaps more) and finding what it is that is needing to be addressed.
An important note to student therapists
If the value of good supervision is not appreciated from the very beginning and the therapist chooses to ignore it then this can lead to a lack of openness towards those clients/patients who really need the very best of their therapist in order to get well themselves. Its like if you as a therapist have a tendency for depression then without addressing this in supervision you will be unconsciously or not, passing this over to your clients who in turn will not get better with this depressive input. Or, too you are more likely to miss golden opportunities for professional development with relational issues / life development skills / immediacy / empathy / congruency / unconditional positive regard / deeper listening skills etc.
Wisdom and Clinical skills
Often times my Supervisor asks many questions and at other times she is like the wise woman who just holds the space and reflects back how much of myself I am giving in my work. As a Supervisor myself I see how I embody my supervisor in my work and I know that it is the human wisdom that is imparted in each session that builds me as a clinician. This quote sums up my feelings about supervision:
“The Supervisor has no other concern, no other agenda than to facilitate the therapist’s ability to be open to her experience so that she can become fully present and engaged in the relationship with the client”
Elke Lambers, 2000
I would love to know what you think of this blog. Please email me any comments you may have to: email@example.com.
Supervision spaces are available in Blaenavon and Risca
May 28th 2019.mental health charity Abergavenny, supervision