Who needs it?
Counselling supervision is for accredited counsellors and psychotherapists, pre-accredited therapists and students undergoing training courses in professional counselling and psychotherapy. Supervision is also available to professionals in the related fields of social work, community work, social care and mental health professionals.
The primary goal of counselling supervision is to enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy/counselling and other psychological interventions through the growth of the therapist/worker and the development of their skills.
Counselling supervision also protects against burnout and stress. Burnout comes from being overloaded and the onset of ‘compassion fatigue’. So counselling supervision is a restorative process to replenish emotional energy through debriefing and emotional containment.
It is a space to discuss difficulties with themselves and their clients without fear of disapproval or judgement. It also acts as a container for the supervisee’s own doubts and distress and a space for them to be explored.
Like with a client, we establish ground rules and clarify lines of responsibility regarding how you prepare for a session; ensure client needs are addressed; look at the therapeutic relationship; provide constructive feedback and appropriate self disclosure. And to recognise when personal issues are intruding on the work or unfinished business with a previous client.
My job is to create a space that will enable you to find your own style of being a therapist/worker. The space is the heart of the process that helps you gain insight and find your own solutions and explore the unknown – staying with it and not trying to resolve it. A space to explore fantasies, hunches and feelings. This allows you to step back from your work and see the themes. It also allows you to move between experiencing and reflecting.
Most importantly we will look at the ‘parallel process’: where the relationship dynamics between client and therapist/worker appear in the supervision room. The supervisee literally, but unconsciously, acts like the client to show the supervisor what is happening in the relationship. The origin of this is from our own childhood and mimicry at play. It is the supervisee’s out of character behaviour that really shows how the client is.
This process externalises the client for the supervisee and he/she can look at the client with fresh eyes, with a sense of perspective, and a sense of where the therapeutic relationship is going or needs to go.
All parts of this process are regularly reviewed; the relationship between supervisor and supervisee, client progress, supervisee progress, so a clear development is maintained. Mutual feedback is encouraged as well as a look at strengths and weaknesses on all sides, including the supervisor. So the supervisee gets a sense of strong support and mutuality in the relationship. We will also regularly re-contract our work so that adjustments are being made and the work’s effectiveness is maintained.
In a paragraph…
Counselling supervision is a space for counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health workers to develop their skills, protect from burnout and explore their work in terms of professional client work and their own personal development. The space helps the supervisee gain insight by exploring the unknown in themselves and the client. This provides perspective and separates out the supervisee material from the client material, enabling the supervisee to help the client more effectively and protect the supervisee’s own integrity.