Terri Green - Dip. Counselling, Dip. Supervision - MBACP
I believe the model I am currently striving to practice is a combination of The Seven-Eyed Supervision model developed by Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet in 1985 and Pam, my supervision tutors model gained from many years of practice.
I like The Seven Eyed model because the model’s relational concentrates on the relationships between client, therapist and supervisor and on the interplay between each relationship. The model is called “seven eyed” because it focuses on seven distinct aspects of the therapeutic process. By looking through each ‘eye’ it’s possible to see a different side of the whole of your supervision session.
Below is my interpretation and how I hope to implement it:
Eye 1: Focus on the Client
As a therapist I’m aware I may at times see some clients in terms of their problems and how they might solve their issues. I may lose sight of empathising with them but by focusing on the client and their motivation, needs and desires in the here-and-now it helps develop the therapeutic relationship.
By asking my supervisee the following questions I can develop a better awareness of the client:
• How do they come into the room?
• How do they sit?
• How do they hold themselves?
• How do they talk?
• What might be their perception of you?
Eye 2: Focus on Interventions
By focussing on the interventions’ the supervisee uses, as the supervisor, I can discover the hidden aspects of the therapeutic relationship:
Do they use a certain kind of intervention more than others? For example, do they ask a lot of questions if so:
• For whose benefit are they asking?
• What are they trying to discover?
• What do they hold back and why?
• Who are they protecting?
• Who or what is the supervisee protecting the client from?
If the supervisee were able to switch off the part of their brain that filters what comes out of their mouth, what would they say to the client?
• What does that tell the supervisee about themselves?
• What does that tell the supervisee about their perception of their client?
• What does that tell the supervisee about the therapeutic relationship with their client?
Eye 3: Focus on Client-Therapist Relationship
The therapeutic relationship is created by both therapist and client and it can be the vehicle of therapeutic change. The quality of the relationship is often the deciding factor in the therapeutic outcome and to help get perspective on a therapeutic relationship, asking my supervisee questions such as:
• You are watching your most recent session as an observer. What do you notice about the client and counsellor?
• If you were both animals, what would you be? (E.g. “You’re a cat and your client is a mouse.”)
• How do you interact with each other? (E.g. “The cat is chasing the mouse! ... I think my client wants to run away from me ... I think she’s scared ... I hadn’t thought of it like that.”)
• What do you imagine is the transference and counter-transference occurring in the relationship?
Eye 4: Focus on Therapist’s Process
By the supervisee gaining awareness of their process, they can learn more about the client, themselves and the relationship between them and what was previously unknown to the supervisee. The supervisee can use awareness of their process to discover what within them may be hampering the therapy.
Questions for the supervisee to consider may include:
• How do I feel emotionally in response to my client?
• What are my physical sensations in response to my client?
• What thoughts to I have about my client?
• Noticing my body language in response to my client. What am I saying through my gestures?
• What do I imagine the client is covertly telling me? (E.g. “Please fix me”).
• What am I covertly telling the client? (E.g. “I need you to like me”).
Eye 5: Focus on Therapist-Supervisor Relationship
What happens in the counselling room may be being played out between therapist and supervisor, this is known as parallel process. For example, the therapist becomes angry, when talking about a client and discovers that in fact the client is experiencing the same emotion, or it can be subtler, recognising when you feel bored or defensive can help you understand the client-therapist relationship better. Parallel process may also operate in reverse – the relationship between supervisee and client may mirror what happens between supervisee and supervisor! Asking the supervisee the following questions can help them recognise parallel process:
• How am I like my client?
• How do I differ from my client?
• What am I holding back from my supervisor?
• How do I regard my supervisor when I talk about my client?
• How to I regard my client in the sessions immediately after supervision?
Eye 6: Focus on Supervisor’s Process
By focussing on my process as a supervisor, I can gain insight into parallel process, the quality of the supervisory relationship and my feelings about my supervisees’ client, how I imagine the client to be and how I might interact with them. My focus on my process can be help identify aspects of the relationship between supervisee and client that would otherwise be unknown. For example, attaching feelings to the client that resonate with my supervisee: “As you talk about your client, I notice I’m feeling very sad, I wonder how he might be feeling?” “Yes, he does seem sad. He seems very sad”.
Eye 7: Focus on Wider Context
The wider context is the current and historical background of the client-therapist-supervisor relationship.
Elements of the wider context which currently influence the relationship:
• The organisation the supervisor works for.
• The regulating bodies each belong to.
• Ethical frameworks to which both are bound.
• The people and organisations (influences) in the client’s life (e.g. partner, children, parents, GP, psychiatrist, probation service, keyworker, etc).
• The wider influences in Supervisors life.
• The wider influences in supervisees life.
• Elements which are no longer present, but who’s effects remain in the lives of Supervisor, Supervisee and the client (e.g. Schoolteachers, deceased family members, significant events and our personal histories.
An understanding of the external influences in the client-therapist-supervisor relationship can help:
• When the therapy seems to be going nowhere, is it due to unacknowledged influence?
• A therapist might be afraid of making certain interventions because they have a Core Belief which tells them it would be wrong.
• Resolve ethical dilemmas.
• Knowing whether a client is already in contact with their GP can help you decide when and how you might breach confidentiality.
• Identify common themes across your client work, are there certain consistent aspects of the way you experience your clients as the result of your upbringing?
If I incorporate Pam’s model which focusses on the person-centred approach, allowing the supervisee to lead the sessions and by providing a safe, non-threatening and non-judgmental space the supervisee can monitor and explore their own practice. I feel the combination of both models is the direction I want to take as a supervisor.