My Philosophy of Supervision

For me supervision is a place where a counsellor or psychotherapist has the freedom to reflect on his/her work, with the supervisor’s support, attuned feedback and, where appropriate, guidance. Its aim is always to enhance the supervisee’s clinical competence, self-confidence, creativity and compassion.

My ethic is that supervisors should support not just the supervisee and the client but also the greater systems – families, institutions etc – to which they belong. Helping one should never be at the expense of the other: the best support for an individual is to accept and, where appropriate, lovingly challenge the system of which they are a part, not simply to attack it. My core values around therapy and supervision include: empathy, respect, valuing self and other, authenticity and freedom. Accordingly, I think it is important that a supervisor should be:

(1)              real,

(2)              flexible,

(3)              able to hold an open-ended, exploratory space,

(4)              capable of listening and reflecting,

(5)              supportive,

(6)              accepting of self and others,

(7)              lovingly challenging,

(8)              aware of the limits of what they know, and

(9)              capable of staying with not-knowing,

(10)            able to pick out the main issues, without being dogmatic or didactic.

It should by now be clear that I believe in freedom to explore, questioning, creativity, spontaneity, holistic thinking (body-mind-family-social system-past-present-potentiality, etc) and, perhaps above all, an experiential primary-process (rather than mere ‘talking about’) way of working. Overall, I view education, correction and monitoring as less important than the flourishing, growth and differentiation of supervisee – and of supervisor.

All in all, my hope is that supervision can be a mutually empowering and stimulating journey that supervisor and supervisee travel together and from which both can learn.

(Note: I work with an integrative, process model (Hawkins and Shohet) involving seven modes of supervision: (1) focus on the client and what and how they present; (2) exploration of the strategies and interventions used by the supervisee; (3) exploration of the relationship between the client and the supervisee; (4) attention on the supervisee; (5) focus on the supervisory relationship; (6) the supervisor attending to their own process; and (7) awareness of the wider contexts in which the work happens.)