Counsellor Supervision, Definition and Philosophy
My supervision definition and philosophy is process oriented in nature and combines person-centered, psychodynamic, solution-focused counselling with cognitive behavioral theory, mindfulness theories and many other models of counselling which I have come across over the years. I particularly like NVC, Imago and TOT for work with my own clients.
NVC is the acronym for non-violent communication and is centred around reality, compassion and empathy. It is the life-work of the late Dr Marshall Rosenberg, a truly wonderful man who I had the gift of studying with first-hand. Imago is the brainchild of Dr Harville Hendrix and TOT, or Trust Oriented Therapy, is the work of Mahmud Nestman of Vancouver BC, includes most of the modes of counselling listed above and I have found it to be the perfect ‘glue’, maximizing strength, consistency and flexibility.
Neurobiology fascinates and delights me, including the work of doctors Peter Levine, Daniel Siegal and Stephen Porges. So much of what I have instinctively ‘felt‘ over the years, both from my own personal experience and from my clients, is now being confirmed and explained scientifically. This is no less than thrilling for me!
Supervision allows me to share my experience with clients and wrestle with ethical issues which I’ve accumulated over the last decade or two with new colleagues. Working with other counsellors and helping to sharpen their focus and grow their careers uses slightly different skills. I get to use my years of marketing and business experience too! Debriefing with colleagues in a safe environment is an honour.
I see the clinical supervision relationship as similar to the relationship between client and counsellor in terms of confidentiality and privacy. The creation of a private and safe environment is, in my view, an important aspect of counsellor supervision and allows the supervisee to be vulnerable and to pursue growth with confidence and authenticity, personally and professionally.
ACCT – or the Association of Co-operative Counselling Therapists – also has a volunteer mentor / mentee group, that I am happy to be a part of.
I read somewhere that through encouraging and coaching counsellors, a good supervisor facilitates the ’emergence of innate talent that lies latent within’ the practicing counsellor. I love that! Noticing and discussing that natural ability also builds confidence which allows trust in the unfolding counselling techniques to blossom.
Clinical supervision is a requirement of most associations and of the new counselling colleges now being formed in Canada. At ACCT new counsellors must log over 1000 hours of client contact and receive a minimum of 8 hours of supervision per year for the first five years of work. Senior counsellors and supervisors are also required to receive a minimum of 8 hours of supervision as well as a minimum of 8 hours of PD (professional development) and a maximum of 8 hours self-directed PD / self-care. It is important to check the requirements of your own association and colleges, such as that being formed by FACT-BC here. It is hoped that all the province will ask for congruent standards.
My fees for individual work compare well with those for most group sessions and are lower than my client fees. I love working with other counsellors and I see that as a valuable way of giving back to my profession and community.
Again, I use a process-oriented and integrative approach to supervision. I supervise in person or by Zoom (online, one-on-one or group) which allows me to be flexible in my approach to supervision. Supervision is not restricted by my geography or my approach:.
I believe supervision is more than simply critiquing technique.
Individual supervision is believed to be the most effective type of supervision, certainly during the first few years of practice. It’s been shown to foster stronger personal growth and help create healthy private counselling practices. Group sessions – with no more than 6 – 8 participants – can be useful too in addition to individual supervision. This is a similar belief to that found in community mental health centres and in all larger organizations.
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