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What to bring to Supervision

What to bring to Supervision

After many years of providing clinical supervision, I am often asked by new therapists what they should bring to the supervisionary session. I say have your notebook with you. Relax, take some deep breaths and allow yourself to concentrate on your breathing for a minute or two. Then let your mind drift back over your work with clients in the last week/fortnight.

Some questions which may help the therapist reflect on his/her work and your feelings about it:

  • What surfaces for you immediately? Notice it and let it go.
  • What interactions, sessions, clients, interventions were you pleased with?
  • What was difficult for you?
  • What were you, are you, uncertain about?
  • What are you looking forward to in your next session?
  • Are there any anxieties about the way you are working with a particular client, student, colleague, patient, boss?
  • Are there some doubts, anxieties, just “out of view” which you would prefer remained out of view? Identify the feelings.
  • Which interactions have you enjoyed most? What were the feelings?

I ask them to  jot down a list of what has surfaced for you as a result of this reverie.

I then ask them to scan through your records/ diary, do any further points stand out for them which they might like to talk about? The therapist then adds them to their list.

I will also ask the supervisee to imagine he/she are playing a video of one session incident, are there ideas or feelings which come up for him/her which he/she might, or might not, like to bring to their supervision?

They will then read through their list. Marking any items which they do not see as significant enough to take. Marking any items they feel reluctant to talk about and would rather postpone Making a tentative priority of other items by numbering 1,2,3, etc.

If they have marked some items: I ask them to gently explore with themselves what are the risks to them, or to their relationship with me to bring these up. What might they learn or gain if they did? We then leave these to simmer and we go back to their list of priorities.

They then think about what they want to learn and how they might present their material.

This may not be what we talk about when they get to supervision -other priorities may arise, but they will have given themselves and their clients an airing.

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