The nature of impactful clinical supervision
In recent months I have had a good opportunity to reflect on the nature of impactful clinical supervision. Both for me, and those I supervise, these unusual times have created the space to experience self differently, and to reflect on the nature of what supervision adds to practice.
We engage in supervision hopefully not because UKCP or BACP tell us to, but because it adds value to our practice, making a difference to our own quality of life, and to the way we work with our clients.
So what does clinical supervision at its best do?
For me, supervision is a space where the supervisee can come into contact with themselves, with their thoughts, feelings, patterns and well-being, in a deeper way. It is a relationship in which we can bring our whole self, and reflect honestly on what is happening within, and how this is showing up and being reflected in the work we do.
Supervision is clearly focused on client work, and what is happening in the therapy room. This does not mean the focus is on clients alone however. The dialogue makes good space for the therapist, for the patterns across clients and the themes in what is being presented. This enables the therapist to grow and learn as a human being. For it is when we face and transform our own stuckness that our clients begin to move and heal.
We need to move beyond seeing each client as solely individual, into noticing the themes in what is being offered to us, in how we are responding to it. We need to ask, where is there movement, and where we are spinning the wheels and our clients are looping? We then bring this wider insight back into the uniqueness of each client relationship, and sit with what it means for the particular piece of work, the particular relational dynamic in which we are engaged.
The calling of a psychotherapist is not just to help clients to become well, and to meet the outcomes they seek. It is also to have an openness to personal growth and transformation, to have a passion for exploring and discovering, and to have the humility to know our human frailty is just as great as that of the clients who sit with us.
For online clinical supervision that enables you to work in the depth of the relational dynamic, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or confidentially on 0191 3720318.