For many years supervision was largely an unrewarding and functional experience for me. Initially, the focus felt skills driven, such as meeting standards and competencies. As I progressed, it became almost all about management expectations with little space to develop my personal and professional skills. There was little consistency to build a trusting relationship with a supervisor where it could be possible to discuss all the complexities that arise in clinical practice. After years of inconsistent supervision I felt fearful of being judged in my clinical work and as a supervisor I felt I had to have all the answers.
It wasn’t until I became a supervisor and sought out relevant training through ‘intandem’ that I began to understand for the first time how supportive and valuable supervision can be. Around the same time I embarked on courses in counselling skills as I was becoming increasingly interested in ways I could support the psychological needs of clients and become a more empathic therapist. Developing counselling skills and understanding more fully how supervision could be, the two became entwined in their core values to me.
The relationship you have with a supervisor: honest, reflective, developing and moving forward, is also mirrored in the relationships we have with clients. Developing my counselling skills has enabled me to go at the client’s pace, to not just listen, but to listen and thoughtfully process what I hear, to try and put what the client has said in its proper context so that my responses are as honest and accurate as possible. And just as we want our clients to become more independent, resourceful and confident in their skills, so do we want to develop similarly as clinicians through supervision. In supervision I have been able to develop a trust in my capability and a belief in my own capacity to be able to offer the best practice I can give.
Undertaking supervision training and counselling workshops, such as Personal Construct Psychology, has developed my understanding of the unique understanding of the world to us as individuals and the power of the relationship, whether its between client and therapist or supervisor and supervisee.
Following 4 years now of consistent, nurturing, supportive supervision, I see how it has given me confidence to trust in my clinical skills as well as allowing me to be reflective in my clinical practice, relationships and judgement making. It gives me a safe space to test out ideas and discuss plans for the future. Most importantly, it has helped me to continue to enjoy being an SLT and forge my own path.