I offer supervision for counsellors, therapists and other helping professionals, including those working in the voluntary sector.

Supervision is a structured process of regular professional support that aims to promote your continuous personal and professional development through discussion and reflection.

Will my supervisor tell me what to do? In the same way that it is not our job as practitioners to tell our clients how to live their lives, as a supervisor I do not see it as my job to tell you how you ‘should’ practise. Rather I see supervision as a collaborative process in which I facilitate you to reflect on your work and thus develop a ‘super’-vision. As a professional person you have the responsibility for your own practice. Therefore, instead of telling you what to do, I help you reflect on all aspects of your work, thus enabling you to learn from your experience and work ethically, safely and effectively.  Any actions that need to be taken may be discussed and reflected on together..

What is developmental supervision? This is for practitioners in training and people who may have qualified relatively recently.   Although the same principle of mutual reflection applies, there is more emphasis on the educative function of supervision. The supervisor should ideally be an expert in the supervisee’s field. So if you are undertaking training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, you should receive psychodynamic supervision. If you are studying to be a CBT therapist, your supervisor should be a practising Cognitive Behavioural therapist, and so on. The relationship is not unlike that of student –teacher.

What is Consultative supervision? This is for qualified and experienced practitioners. Here the relationship between practitioner and supervisor is more collegial. The supervisor does not necessarily have to share the supervisee’s theoretical or practical orientation. Some people find it helpful to have supervision with someone from a different theoretical orientation, as they are less likely to share the same blind spots or ways of thinking. It may also enable you to widen your theoretical perspective.

 

How much supervision should I have? The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy stipulates that every practitioner should have a minimum of one and a half hours a month. The United Kingdom Central Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) stipulates a one to six ratio for students and those newly qualified.  For experienced practitioners the UKCP leaves the frequency and amount of supervision it to be decided between you and your supervisor. Both the BACP and the UKCP recognize that the amount of supervision you need also depends on your workload, the nature of your work and, your level of experience. The higher your workload and the more stressful the nature of your work (such as working with severely disturbed, traumatized or abused clients, the more supervision you are likely to need.

Is supervision basically the same as counselling or psychotherapy? No, whereas it may be therapeutic to have supervision and there is some overlap between the skills used, supervision is not therapy. The difference lies in focus and emphasis: in supervision the focus is on you as a professional and your work; in case of personal life events the emphasis will be on how they may affect the work with your clients. So whereas I would want to know about distressing events that are happening in your life in case they affect your work, I will not then move into counselling or therapy mode. However, we will probably look into what support your have available. Sometimes I suggest practitioners may want to return to therapy for extra support.