Professional Supervsion is an important aspect of a professional's ongoing personal and professional development, self-care and accountability. I am passionate about Supervision and this is a stimulating and enjoyable aspect of my work.
I am a full member of New Zealand Association of Counsellors, Te Roopu Kaiwhiriwhiri o Aotearoa (NZAC) and abide by their code of ethics and am guided by the NZAC Supervision Policy and Supervision Guidelines.
I have completed a PGrad Cert Professional Supervsion (NMIT).
What is Professional Supervision?
Professional Supervsion includes:
Interdisciplinary Supervision: For professionals from other disciplines than mine. This is not clinical supervision, so does not have reporting requirements, responsibilities or legal accountabiliy for your day to day professional / clincal practice. However, it does include reflection on your professional practice, personal and professional development.
Clinical Supervsion: For Counsellors which includes the supervisee presenting clinical practice, case work specific to the counselling profession. This also includes a reporting component associated to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Provisional Member's application process for (NZAC).
Professional Supervision is an opportunity to reflect on practice, where we retell our experiences and the events of our practice and begin to make sense of them (Carroll, 2014; Carroll & Gilbert, 2006).
What to expect in Supervision?
Supervision is a distinct professional practice which serves to support, challenge and stimulate professional’s learning throughout their career. Supervision sessions are usually attended regularly, often fortnightly or monthly, and over a sustained length of time. As such the supervisory relationship becomes central to effective supervision and a collaborative partnership. The supervisor provides a safe confidential space and is responsible for facilitating the supervision session which includes supporting practitioners to develop and maintain safe, effective and accountable practice, and consideration of the supervisee’s well-being. The supervisee is responsible for preparing for supervision, presenting their work in a way most conducive to getting the most out of supervision sessions.
I have worked in the social services field for over 20 years. This time has predominantly included gaining qualifications and experience in providing counselling and psychotherapy. As well as working in various roles within the community for non-for-profit organisations both paid and voluntary, I have been employed and contracted to private and government organisations. Throughout a large period of this time, I also managed a successful private practice initially part-time and currently in a full-time capacity.
Counselling and supervision are distinctly separate professions which require specific skills and training. Supervision is not counselling. However, for me the same values underpin being a counsellor and a professional supervisor. My experience in counselling services provides me with transferable skills to draw from when providing supervision. My long-term commitment to providing effective treatment, addressing issues that impact on people’s health and well-being and making changes, is a natural fit for supervision. I am genuinely invested in supervisees receiving effective supervision. So not only do supervisees benefit from reenergizing themselves, they are more likely to provide effective services to those who access their services.
As Heraclites, the Greek philosopher (fl. c. 500 B.C.) suggests “Nothing is permanent but change”. I am change-focussed. I enjoy working alongside people to navigate their own planned and unexpected changes. A key aspect of change and growth is education and my experience of education as empowering personally and professionally, underpins my practice. Learning keeps my practice current and continually developing. I enjoy encouraging and supporting other’s in their professional development process and recognise I also benefit from their learning; it keeps me learning also. It is a privilege to be part of this two-way process.
My passion for professional supervision is influenced by the considerable impact my own professional supervisors have had on my professional and personal development throughout my career. I credit them with supporting my learning, providing guidance, encouraging my professional development whilst also challenging me to reflect honestly and robustly, caring enough to get to know me and what makes me tick.
My experience as a professional supervisor includes providing interprofessional supervision for professionals whom work in different professions to myself, and clinical supervision for counsellors in training as well as practitioners well- established in the counselling profession. My supportive approach to supervision sessions, means that when challenge is required, I provide this in a strength-based respectful manner. I believe the vulnerability and courage which accompany effective learning can only occur when people feel safe, supported and respected. As such supervision sessions ought to be a space where you can experience respect for you, your values, your beliefs, your uniqueness and your right to self- determination.
I am highly committed to practising in a culturally sensitive, ethical way. I recognise that “all clinical practice in Aotearoa sits within the context of the Treaty of Waitangi” (p.5, Dapaanz, 2014). Just as my professional practice is influenced by life experiences, values, clinical experience and training, I aim to understand the cultural and socio-political context in which you live and work and how these factors affect you personally and professionally.
My approach to supervision is eclectic as outlined below:
The primary purpose of supervision from the Reflective Learning Model perspective, is to facilitate supervisee learning and professional development. This model is underpinned by the Experiential Learning Model, which suggests we learn through engaging in professional practice, then reflecting on our practice, identifying what we learned, then applying this new learning into our practice (Kolb, as cited in Carroll & Gilbert, 2006).
The Strength-Based approach ensures that there is consistent focus on the strengths both the supervisor and supervisee bring to their practice and to the reflection process (Davys & Beddoe, 2010; Edwards & Chen, 1999). This approach also identifies the power inherent in the role of the supervisor and suggests this power can be managed by maintaining transparency and a collaborative approach to ensure the supervisory relationship is a collegial partnership, which feels safe for the supervisee to present both the successes and challenges of their work.
Given that supervision can be voluntary or mandatory, and professionals who seek supervision come from a diversity of training and practice contexts, managing power is important. A strength-based approach recognises that although there may be reporting requirements and a focus on ‘best’ practice, professional supervision is not hierarchical (Davys & Beddoe, 2010).
The Developmental Model also influences my person-centred approach in which I respond to the specific needs of each supervisee depending on their developmental stage professionally. This is more relevant to clincial supervsion. For instance, a seasoned professional is likely to require more challenge and collegial support and less of an educative approach. Whereas a beginning practitioner is likely to require more support as they develop confidence.
A framework for supervision sessions include three tasks;
Administrative/ Normative which focuses on values, guidelines, accountability, ethical practice, and meeting the requirements of code of ethics and workplace standards.
Educative/ Formative which focuses on the educative, skills development, discussing ideas, knowledge and understanding about oneself and professional practice.
Supportive/ Restorative which focuses on recharging energy, self-care, humour responding to and releasing emotions (Dapaanz, 2014; Davys & Beddoe, 2010; Inskipp & Proctor, 1993).
Davys, Allyson., Beddoe, Liz., (2010) Best Practice in Professional Supervision: A Guide for the Helping Professions. London, Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Wepa, Dianne., (2007). Clinical Supervision in Aotearoa/New Zealand: A Health Perspective, New Zealand: Pearson Education New Zealand.
Carroll, M., (2014), Effective Supervision for the Helping Professions, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Carroll, M., Gilbert, Maria C., (2011), On Being a Supervisee: Creating Learning Partnerships, Australia: PsychOz Publications.
Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. (2012). Supervision in the helping professions: An individual, group, and organizational approach. Milton Keynes: England: Open University Press.