Being a therapist isn’t easy: it can be overwhelming and life-affirming, enriching and exhausting. We all need a forum to talk. Speak to a supervisor who will listen.
We encounter so much intense emotional energy from clients as well as the trial and tribulations of private practice, it is essential we take care of ourselves.
Supervision gives us an opportunity to release some of our own emotions, helping us rebalance ourselves and preventing us from becoming so overwhelmed by the drama of clients that we simply stop caring and stop listening.
As with personal therapy, whether we decide to work together will normally come down to the relationship. We’ve all had clients who seem such a good fit on paper, never to return after one session and equally the most unlikely clients really invest and commit to the process.
As such our first session together is free and you can get a chance to see how we fit. If you wish to continue I offer either fortnightly 45 minute (£45) or monthly 90 minute (£90) sessions. I have a number reduced fee sessions available to therapists in training at £30. I am a BACP registered therapist and qualified supervisor operating from a private office in the East Cliff area of Bournemouth and also lecture counselling at a local college.
Space & Support
Being a therapist can be exhausting, frustrating, inspiring, and heart-breaking and this can all be in one session. It is important that we don’t hide from or deny these emotions, we are not robots, nor should we aim to be so. Supervision provides a safe, compassionate and confidential space to voice our concerns and frustrations, confusions and our times of simply ‘not knowing’. It gives us space to look these emotions, to reflect on whether these are feelings of the moment or replays of past relationships, and whether they are helping or hindering you or your client work. How I work is shaped by the Rogerian principle of autonomy, underscored by a belief in the supervisee’s inherent ability, and that by talking honestly and openly a clearer picture will form.
So much of what we do with clients is guess work. We think this intervention might succeed, or we hold off from another because we worry the relationship isn’t strong enough. We have to make decisions entirely independent of others and there are times it can be helpful to explore our rational for the decisions we make and even to hear how another therapist would approach it.
As therapist we are trained to listen, sometimes to a incongruous phrase or metaphor, something that hints at something else, and this is true within supervision. The past is always with us and no more so than as therapists; transference and parallel processes, historic relationships, patterns of behaving and thinking lurking in the wings, filtering and colouring both what we hear from the client and also how we process this. Part of our process together involves exploring these unconscious motivations, so-called ‘blind spots, deaf spots and dumb spots’ and reflecting on whether this is hindering or helping your work with clients.
The line between personal therapy and supervision is always a blurred and complicated picture. How we interact with clients is shaped not only by our past but how we are feeling at the moment, it is informed by our own triumphs as well as our failures and moments of crisis.
Sometimes however when are personal life is in danger of over-whelming our ability to function as a therapist. You might have had a recent major life event or an exchange with a client has triggered some powerful emotion which you just can’t seem to get past, you may be suffering fatigue or burn-out. Supervision isn’t about giving answers or advice; it is about honest conversation and accepting there are times for all of us, as do our clients, in which we need personal therapy to carry on.
In some sense supervision is easy to describe: a process design to help the supervisee. Move into the details however this becomes more complicated. How exactly does it help, is it just a space to talk or is it advice and guidance? Is supervision primarily for the therapist or for their clients? Is supervision the same as personal therapy and if not where is that boundary? Should our work together be shaped by a formal model of supervision or can it just be humanistic integrative?
As a humanistic integrative counsellor it is no surprise that my approach to supervision is also pluralistic. Page & Wosket’s 2001 Cyclical model offers a clear yet comprehensive breakdown of what goes on in the room, gives space for the therapist to emotionally process their client work, and, if necessary, look at the shadow side of their practice. And Hawkins & Shohet’s Seven Eyed works well when we want to focus or isolate on one aspect of therapy, whether that is interventions used, or on one of the relational dynamics that shape both client work and supervision.
For me personally a key aspect of supervision is moving beyond the surface level of exchanges with clients and starting to explore those deeper, murkier motivations and stories we tell ourselves that shape us as a therapist.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to arrange a supervision session.
I will always aim to respond within the same day
ICO Registration Number: ZA539059