Talking: Families

Supervision for Counsellors, Therapists and Managers


Many professions are recognising the importance of supervision. It is a well established practice with in the counselling and psychotherapy field and it is part of the requirements to maintain a professional accreditation. It is now being acknowledged that it is also useful and necessary for managers, alternative therapists, education and health workers.

I work as a systemic supervisor, which means that I work in a particular way I have experience and am able to collaborate with or supervise people working in a variety of different modalities as managers, counsellors and therapists.

A systemic approach to supervision could be summed up by the word ‘process’. Process as opposed to content - in other words instead of being interested in the story who did and said what we are interested in the how - developing opportunities to value what went well and what could be more effective practice.

Exploring the process of the work, in which supervision is being sought, is a way of creating a context for valuing all participants, those who are part of the construction of the work.

I enjoy working with individuals and groups and offer a wide variety of media for supervision for example:

  • Face to face consultation with individuals and groups
  • Reviewing audio and DVD/video tape to which I can respond in writing, on tape or in person
  • Telephone consultation
  • Live supervision – this entails observing the practice of the individual or team and commenting/sharing ideas through the course of a meeting and then again at the end. Those of you that have not experienced this way of working will benefit from, further explanation and experience working with me in order to establish a trusting relationship.

I like to work with a written agreement and obviously if personal client or team’s material on tape is being shared with me then signed consent from the clients/team is necessary.

If you are receiving supervision in your current work place, it could be that this is the main way in which your organisation monitors and reviews your work but also ensures you are properly supported and continue to develop your skills. There is however a dilemma in this process, that if the person supervising, also monitors, reviews and assesses, how free does the individual or group feel to talk about serious dilemmas that they are managing - in which their performance may be judged.

It is important, in my opinion, that for supervision to be effective, a supervisor from outside the organisation should be commissioned to allow for the unspeakable to be spoken and talked about. This may not need to be frequent or even scheduled but should be made available.