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 counsellors 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. 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 multifaceted dialogue that arises out of it. Christian's particular framework integrates three different models to facilitate supervision which comprises of:
The function of supervision
The structure of supervision
The process of supervision
Christian makes use of Proctor’s (1988) three functions to understand the purpose of supervision which are:
Formative (or educational) which helps you (as the supervisee) to develop your skills and therapeutic understanding.
Restorative (or supportive) which supports you (as the supervisee) by enabling you to unburden difficult client work.
Normative (or quality control) which ethically reflects on the quality of work, and in doing so maintains 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 ascertain the facts and what your aims and objectives are for bringing a particular issue to supervision (ascertaining what you want to get from the session). The session would also have an open space where the work is explored through a reflective process. Finally, we would review the outcome of the session to ascertain if your aims and objectives have been met and to discuss what actions should be taken. I also include a review at the end of the session to ascertain what learning has taken place and to review my effectiveness from your perspective (are you getting what you need from me?).
To help make sense and facilitate the reflective space I use Hawkins & Shohet (2006) 7 eyed process model. This enables us to be aware of and understand the different areas of experience we can explore together and then how we can make sense of them. There are three distinct areas we could potentially explore, which are:The area of what is happening in the counselling session between you (the supervisee) and your client. In focusing on this area we can explore and make sense of what the client brings, how you (the supervisee) are intervening and what the relationship is between the client and you.In the second area we could focus on what is happening in the supervision session and also includes what is happening in the here and now between you (the supervisee) and me (the supervisor). In exploring this area it could shed light and provide insight into the undercurrents that are on the tip of your awareness but yet eludes you in the session with the client. How the multifaceted aspects of the environment that surrounds the counselling and supervision process influences many different factors which need to be taken into account.
I currently supervise counsellors in private practice, school based counsellors and the NHS. I am also a manager for a large counselling service and have worked in partnership with the BACP and Welsh Government in developing national guidance for counselling. Supervising school based counsellors has provided me with extensive knowledge about child protection issues (via professional training). I also have experience of working within organisations which has given me a depth of understanding of how organisational complexities and cultures can impact on counselling. My experience includes working with individuals but also extends to working with groups. Supervision of my work is undertaken with leading counselling professionals within the UK.
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