Online Clinical Supervisor

Gerry Johnson

Clinical Supervision is an opportunity for us to get together and really focus, explore and learn more about, aspects of the therapeutic relationship and the interventions employed. As your clinical supervisor, my style is grounded in a non-judgmental approach: enabling learning, assimilation, and growth.

In a collaborative  process, involving the giving and receiving of each others’ perceptions and felt-sense, I work hard to help my supervisees learn how to examine the counselling relationship through a microscope, employing self-reflection and aligning theory to practice.

I help my supervisee to deal with and reduce their anxiety around working with clients, particularly their concerns about ‘getting it wrong’ or  inadvertently ‘causing harm’ by helping them to develop a transparent, self-reflective, boundaried, process that they can call on to support and evidence their professional practice.

You’ve shown me a really different insight into some of my work and I’ve really taken note. I feel like I’m going in with a fresh pair of eyes now, so thank you for that. Paula, Qualified Counsellor – Supervisee

My model of Supervision.

Models of supervision provide a structure for understanding the roles, relationship, responsibilities and processes integral to the practice of supervision (Wheeler & Richards, 2007, np). My personal model of supervision is made up of three parts:

  1. The underpinning philosophy of my model.
  2. The processes within my model.
  3. The working practice of my model.

The underpinning philosophy of my model can be found in the conceptual framework of the Discrimination model, offering as it does three supervisory roles (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009) with three area of focus (Bernard, 1979).

  1. Supervisors might take on a role of “teacher” where they directly lecture, instruct, or inform the supervisee.
  2. Supervisors may act as “counsellors” where they assist supervisees in identifying their own “blind spots” or countertransference process.
  3. Supervisors might act as a “consultant” to colleagues, offering supportive guidance. (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992, p.26)

Secondly, the “Seven-Eyed Model” or “Process Model” (Hawkins & Shohet, 2006) provides a systemic model for examining the processes of the therapy and supervision as a whole, (Cooke, 2012, np) by shining a spotlight on any one of the seven relational aspects of the whole of the supervision relationship at any one time.

The seven key areas (or eyes with which to observe the work) are:7eyes

  1. The Client’s presentation.
  2. The intervention from the therapist.
  3. The relationship between the therapist and client.
  4. The supervisee
  5. The parallel process
  6. The supervisor
  7. The socio-cultural context

Thirdly, in order to facilitate the daily working practice of my supervision practice, I utilise Carroll’s (1996) Integrative Generic Model, which details the 7 Tasks of supervision:

  • To create the learning relationship
  • To teach
  • To evaluate
  • To monitor professional ethical issues
  • To counsel
  • To consult
  • To monitor the administration aspects

The importance of clinical supervision.

Your supervisor holds many important functions together.

  • Firstly as gatekeepers to the profession, being qualified, knowledgeable, experienced and up to date with legal, moral and ethical issues pertaining to the supervisory relationship.
  • Secondly as a safety net for clients who choose to work with a counsellor, ensuring that the work is to a good standard, and withholds good strong moral, ethical boundaries.
  • Thirdly as a teacher, consultant, counsellor to the supervisee helping them to build their own awareness and insight.

But, for me, most importantly:

“Supervision can be an important part of taking care of oneself, staying open to new learning, and an indispensable part of the individual’s on-going self-development, self-awareness and commitment to learning” Hawkins & Shohet (1989).

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