The BACP (2011) suggest that supervision takes place between a practitioner who wishes to discuss their therapeutic work with an experienced practitioner who is proficient in both therapy and supervision. The BACP go on to suggest that the arrangement to discuss the work takes place on a regular basis and the outcome should leave the practitioner who has sought supervision with greater self awareness, more competent and with a confidence in themselves as a practitioner.
It is important that supervision is a space where pratitioners can feel safe enough to discuss some of their most difficult work without feeling undermined. It is also a place that needs to encourage development and celebrate a job well done. As with some aspects of Christian's counselling approach, he offers an exploratory, respectful and safe space in order that supervision becomes effective but also an enjoyable experience which is empowering. Christian's aim is to provide a collaborative approach to supervision by supporting the counsellor to gain increased awareness of themselves, their work and how they impact on their clients.
Christian facilitates counselling supervision in Newport using a particular framework. This framework enables him to understand the purpose of supervision, how to perform it, and how to make sense of, and put in order, the experience and dialogue that arises out of it. Christian's particular framework integrates three different models to facilitate supervision which comprises of the function, structure and process of supervision:
Christian makes use of Proctor’s (1988) three functions to understand the purpose of supervision which are:
Formative which helps to develop new, or consolidate existing skills and therapeutic understanding.
Restorative which assists practitioners to unburden difficult client work.
Normative which reflects on the quality and ethical considerations of the work in the best interests of the client.
To assist in structuring the supervision session Christian makes use of van Ooijen’s (2003) 3 Step Model. Firstly, this enables counsellor and supervisor to establish the aims and objectives for bringing a particular topic to supervision (agreeing the desired outcome of the session and how this might be achieved). The session would also have an open space where the work is explored through a reflective and respectful process. Finally, there would be an opportunity to review the outcome of the session to establish if the aims and objectives have been met and to discuss what actions might be taken. Periodic (e.g. quarterly, bi-annual or annual) reviews can also be useful to check in on how the supervision and supervision relationship is developing so there is mutual agreement on the future focus of the work and relationship.
To help make sense of the reflective space, Christian uses Hawkins & Shohet (2006) 7 eyed process model. This model enables exploration, awareness and understanding of the different areas of experience within counselling. There are three distinct areas to potentially explore:
The first area focuses on what’s happening in the counselling session between the counsellor and client. Making sense of what the client brings, what interventions are helping and what the relationship is between the client and counsellor.
The second area focuses on what is happening in the supervision session which includes what is happening in the here and now between supervisee and supervisor. Exploring this area can sometimes shed light and provide insight into the undercurrents that are on the tip of awareness but yet elude the counsellor and client in the counselling session.
The third area explores how to work through the multiple aspects of the environment (e.g. the organisation or legislation) which can significantly influence the process of counselling and supervision.
Christian currently supervise‘s counsellors, practitioners and supervisors in private practice, staff counselling, school based counselling, third sector organisations and NHS settings. He has extensive management experience as the head of a large counselling service in Newport and worked in partnership with the BACP and Welsh Government in developing national guidance for counselling. Supervising school based counsellors has provided him with extensive knowledge about child protection issues (via professional training). He also has experience of working within organisations which has given him a depth of understanding of how organisational complexities and cultures can impact on counselling. His experience includes working with individuals but also extends to working with groups. Supervision of his work is undertaken by leading counselling professionals within the UK.
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