Is supervision necessary?
If you are a counsellor, psychotherapist or hypnotherapist you are required to receive regular supervision for the whole of your professional life. This is necessary if you are to be insured and registered with an approved counselling organization. Psychologists and other mental health medical practitioners are not required to be in supervision for the life of their professional life.
This appears to be unfair.
Supervision has a cost in time and money and most counsellors earn a very small income.
As a new counsellor I too found it a financial struggle. However as it is a professional requirement I decided to make it a profitable arrangement. I found a highly respected and effective practitioner as my first supervisor. I figured that if I had to do it anyway I might as well make the sessions productive and useful for my growth as a therapist.
The supervision relationship became a fundamental part of my growth in the field. My supervisor was able to support me as I set up my business and challenge my reluctance to charging a market rate for my services and point out any projections or entanglements with my clients. Debriefing of cases loads and discussion of philosophy, practice and ethics were key elements of supervision. He was able to guide me toward good books or courses that would further my professional development. My sessions with him became both personal and professional development as my personal growth accompanied my development in the role as a professional counsellor.
My next supervisor was a beacon of compassion, wisdom and a role model professionalism . She enabled me to see myself and as I progressed in my growth as a practitioner. I found myself often observing myself in action in a critical way that helped me ponder ethical dilemmas between supervision sessions. The supervision I was receiving was becoming a part of how I was beginning to constantly evaluate my interactions with clients, my business and my marketing.
Dentists and psychiatrists have high suicide rates.
Interestingly other professions with stressful jobs are not required to be in supervision.
I know I would not be the practitioner I am today without it. Many years later I am still in supervision and find great value in it, and I am a supervisor myself. This is place where I can safely and confidentially debrief, reflect on how I am going personally in relation to what is happening in my life and discuss business development and further development and training.
I now know the value of supervision in providing me a safety valve and a confidential professional space to debrief and just be me. I feel sorry for the other helping professions that don’t have this built into their roles. This becomes even more apparent when I see my doctor who is obviously experiencing the stress of their load. So much so she can’t even take a moment to look me in the face to really notice how I am.
Many counselling organisations hold supervision with an in-house supervisor/manager. I would argue this is not true supervision as it leaves no place for an honest debrief of personal vulnerabilities, or a discussion of problems within the organisation or the colleagues or the supervisor him or herself crossing ethical guidelines in taking part in dual relationships.
who are performing a dual task
I see a time when the value we as counsellor or hypnotherapists in our proses of constant supervision is noted by others in the helping profession and it becomes common place in providing support. To those in the giving professions. Helping professions. Are balanced relaxed and able to their clients with warmth and professional care knowing that they have a place to go to vent their frustrations both personal and professional in be coming better at what they do.
Yildiz Sethi provides group and eperspmnal supervision on EMI RCH and Family Constellations.