Supervision has the potential to enhance our usefulness as professionals by providing a creative space to think about our work, download the accompanying stresses, grow our knowledge and understanding of the personal and professional interface, mull over new skills and ideas, and consider ethical and moral dilemmas.
Research shows that supervision is useful for:
People in health related fields – doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists and other body workers. Emergency workers, vets and vet nurses often find supervision valuable. Counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers are required to have regular supervision.
People who work in education or in management – especially those in leading roles find supervision helps them to process job-related stress and work through difficult relational issues.
Supervision is a rewarding professional relationship, and my commitment is to nurture the development of both the space and the relationship of supervision. Here is some information to help you understand more about how I think and act as a supervisor.
I believe we ‘do out of who we are’ and bring our whole selves to each encounter we have with others. Although I take the role of supervisor when we meet, I am the same person with you as I am with any other person. I endeavour to respect, accept, and care for those I come in contact with. I value co-operation, mutuality, honesty, and curious interest in other’s experience, ideas, and beliefs. I am also aware that we all have blind spots, but remain committed to critique and feedback from others, including you, and my own supervision.
My initial counselling training included Client Centred, CBT and Narrative Therapy. Since then I have gained post-grad qualifications and experience in MindBody approaches, and I use Focusing and other experiential modalities. I am informed by Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) which comes from the premise that we have a relational nature that drives us towards connection. RCT promotes the acknowledgement and leveling of power imbalance in relationships. Grounded in Neuroscience and Attachment Theory, RCT believes that as we engage in mutually ‘growth-fostering’ relationships, we flourish through self-development, connection to others, and healthy functioning. Other writers such as Michael White (Narrative Therapy) and David Grove (Clean Language) influence how I work, with particular interest in the power of words, story and metaphor and the importance of your own descriptions, not my interpretation of them.
Will We ‘Fit’?
I am really interested in your area of practice, theoretical ideas, experience and learning style. I endeavor to find common ground between us so that our supervisory relationship can be respectful, useful and safe. To do this I undertake to remain curious and open to your views, ideas and beliefs. I don’t see supervision as the expert teaching/helping/guiding the less experienced, but rather a space to co-create thinking and action to achieve your goals. I am keenly interested in the ethnic, cultural and spiritual dimensions important to you; attention to these aspects greatly influences how well our supervisory relationship develops. As we get to know each other you will get a sense of whether we ‘fit’, and at any point should you want to end our supervision arrangement, you are welcome to do so, I just ask for feedback around this, so that I can continue to grow as a supervisor.
What Will We ‘Do’ Exactly?
My natural way of working is via conversation, creativity, and body awareness. For supervision to be useful for you, I ask that you tell me how you like to reflect on your work, but also to keep an open mind to trying different ideas. I will keep to the agenda you bring, managing the time and process, and check in with you if we are achieving what you hoped for. I ask that you come prepared with what you want to discuss (I have ideas of reflective models to use if you would like), and if it is helpful, we can review recordings of your work, use role play, discuss resources, practice new ideas and skills, and any other form of process that you would like.
Responsibility To Our Professions
I am guided by the ethical codes of the New Zealand Christian Counsellors Association and New Zealand Association of Counsellors. You will be guided by your own ethical code if you are not a counsellor, so I will familiarize myself with this. We are also subject to the Privacy Act.
The Supervision Agreement
It is best practice to have a ‘contract’ or agreement between supervisor and practitioner. I ask many questions in a draft agreement. Some things are preset, but much is open for discussion and negotiation. My aim in not using a pre-written agreement is that you can take up agency and responsibility with regard to supervision – something I believe helps us to deconstruct hierarchy and enhances our ability to work together.