Supervisor Spotlight: Allan Kelly

We speak to Allan Kelly, BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor, about his career journey so far, his thoughts on the benefits of supervision and advice for therapists.

Allan Kelly, Supervisor

Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I’m a BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor. I work with people throughout the talking therapy professions such as counsellors, psychotherapists, supervisors and people running therapy services.

Before becoming a supervisor, I was a counsellor/psychotherapist and I still have a small practice working with long-term clients. Before this, I did many different jobs, including being a successful business entrepreneur. I’ve also dug drains, made cappuccinos and packed parcels! I’ve loved all my jobs, but none as much as being a supervisor.

When I open the door to my consulting room or turn on my laptop, I’m stimulated by the knowledge that every day will be different. You never know what’s going to emerge, that’s one of the wonderful things about life. It’s dynamic.

What led you to a career in counselling?

I was a member of a TA Therapy group. When Terri, the facilitator, said to me one evening, “Have you ever thought about becoming a therapist?” My response was, “Terri, you must be mad, that’s the last thing I’d ever want to do!”. Now I’m in my twentieth year as a therapist and seventh as a supervisor. Go figure. As soon as I arrived at the front door where I trained as a counsellor, I felt at home. I knew I’d arrived at the right place.

When I open the door to my consulting room or turn on my laptop, I’m stimulated by the knowledge that every day will be different. You never know what’s going to emerge, that’s one of the wonderful things about life. It’s dynamic.

Supervision

What are the benefits of supervision?

How much space have we got? Supervision is the place where we learn, develop, grow, take risks, make mistakes, are vulnerable and attend confession! The process of supervision is almost magical. The client is totally unaware of who I am and the input I have in their lives from behind the scenes. I help my supervisees in so many ways, ways you might not think of as supervision. For example, using my background in business, helping supervisees establish, maintain and grow thriving private practices. 

Currently, all my supervisees are full. Over the last year during the pandemic, I’ve helped my supervisees migrate their practices online, dealing with all the tech, contracting and ethical issues. I support and encourage my supervisees to realise their full potential and to be the therapist or supervisor they want to be.

You’re currently offering supervision online. What can supervisees expect from working with you?

In three words, my supervisees can expect experience, empathy and practicality. They know I am there in the background, ready, willing and able to help them with anything which comes up. That’s experience.

Therapy is not easy for the client, and often for the practitioner too, so when difficulties arise my supervisees know they can come to me and they will receive warmth, support and encouragement from someone who’s been there. That’s empathy. And when a supervisee wants to gain a professional accreditation or needs help with contracting, assessment or an ethical issue they know I can help them. That’s practicality.

I support and encourage my supervisees to realise their full potential and to be the therapist or supervisor they want to be.

Have you any advice to give newly qualified therapists and/or those looking to train?

To people looking to train, my advice is first and foremost to get into your own personal therapy. To be a therapist you need first to be a client, to experience the process of therapy. That’s the best place to start. To newly qualified therapists, my advice is to stretch yourself and get the best, most experienced supervisor you can afford and someone with whom you feel completely comfortable.

Where can people find you?

Learn more about me on my Counselling Directory profile. Here you can email me to schedule a free, short introductory Zoom call.

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Written by Ellen Hoggard

Content Manager and Digital Editor.

Written by Ellen Hoggard

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