Being a supervisor does not mean that I have all the answers, being a supervisor does not mean I am better than anyone but that I have much knowledge and experience that helps me to support my supervisees to grow professionally. I consider personal development to be an aspect of the work we do together too.
I feel my role is one of a facilitator, which is a role I enjoy immensely, whereby I enable my supervisees to explore their work, warts and all, their personal feelings about their work, connect their work to the theory whilst maintaining their personality and the idea that thinking out of the box is permitted within the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship that they are building with their clients. Always the client remains central.
Being a supervisor I hold the space where playfulness and self-expression can be looked at and investigated, we explore prejudice, other perspectives, ourselves and how we deliver our therapeutic services in an ethical and client-focused way.
I have had amazing Supervisors who have modelled for me how to be totally human and therefore to accept my supervisees as totally human and for that I feel very lucky.
I do not see myself as all-knowing and that is what I find exciting, I enjoy learning and teaching and live by the rule that we all have something to learn and something to teach, no matter where we are in our professional journeys. (I believe that stands for any role we find ourselves in!)
Sometimes it is difficult being a supervisor because I am a therapist too and the roles are very different. In my therapeutic work I have the emotional connection to those I work with, I impact and am impacted by the client. In supervision work I am not emotionally connected in the same way as my supervisees are to the clients and remembering that is an important aspect when we are looking at interventions that have been made. As with clients, I am sitting alongside my supervisees and we can explore feelings about their work together but the supervisee is the person who has the therapeutic relationship with the actual person who is the client.
I feel I have probably learnt as much from my supervisees as they have from me. I have learnt that the supervision cannot be a one size fits all, I am a creative supervisor who likes to think outside the box and relationship trumps theory, even though theory is often the guide to clinical work. This is not to say that theory is not part of the work I do but that as an integrative trained professional I would refer supervisees to readings that could support their theoretical learning so that the supervision session can be focused on what is happening in the here and now between us and what that might tell us about the therapeutic work the supervisee is doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I can be directive and prescriptive when I believe it is needed. Over the years I have learned how to deliver questions and explorations with gentleness and respect that I hope allows my supervisee to receive it and really hear it. I hope my supervisees know that I am on their side and I am thrilled at the honour of being part of their journey as they learn and teach and grow as therapists and as humans. So to all my supervisees, past, future and present I say a huge thank you for all the learning, thinking, exploring and growing we get to do together :-)