The wonders of supervision
The wonders of supervision.
What makes supervision so important as part of professional practice? What would good supervision be like? How would I know what to look for?
Supervision is one of the three ‘pillars’ of development as a therapist. Training and personal therapy form the other two. Supervision is often the least obvious of these ‘pillars’ but it cannot be overlooked.
Supervision provides support for placing what you have learnt into your practice and evolves and meets your differing needs as you develop as a practitioner. Supervision is your sounding board when you contemplate treatment and interventions for your clients; a unique opportunity to share the various facets of your client work.
Practising as a therapist can feel very isolating. Supervision can provide recognition and a way of sharing practice. Feeling comfortable in sharing all aspects of your work in supervision will result in you becoming more confident in your abilities as a developing professional. Having this approach provides the opportunity for deeper learning too.
Conversations through supervision are empowering, use them to energise yourself into thinking different ways, expanding your work. Let supervision challenge you to think carefully about client work and how you practice.
Supervision provides a place where you can feel supported when the going gets tough, when you're facing difficult ethical dilemmas or situations in client work.
Others qualities that have felt significant have included:
What defines good supervision?
A supervisor will be there whenever you need some support, or when you are faced with difficult situations with clients. They will appreciate the challenges faced in your work. This can be especially helpful in earlier days when first seeing challenging, vulnerable or traumatised clients. Listening to and understanding you and your needs is essential. Your supervisor must have an interest and curiosity in you and your professional work. They should identify with where you are in your professional development and be mindful of what you might need at different stages along the way.
So many things contribute to good supervision – depth of professional experience, integrity and robustness. Most interestingly, what makes good supervision possible is more about the connection that can be made and the relationship that can be co-created between a supervisor and supervisee rather than the individual qualities. The better the relationship between you both, the more open conversations can be about client work. Focusing on the relationship you have with your supervisor is an important and integral to your own professional practice.
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About Mandy Atkinson
Mandy Atkinson, PTSTA (P), CTA (P), UKCP (accred.), MA, Dip Sup.,Cert. Ed. is a transactional analyst psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. She teaches & assesses counselling & psychotherapy at several colleges. She provides supervision and psychotherapy near Tonbridge in Kent. She specialises in trauma, depression, anxiety and eating disorders.