If you are working in one of the helping professions and belong to a professional association you will be aware of the need to participate in ongoing professional supervision. We currently provide professional supervision to a wide variety of professionals, including psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers, community and residential support workers, education providers, medical practitioners, managers and small business owners.
Supervision with psychotherapists, counsellors etc will tend to be clinically focused, while that for managers, business owners etc will be more systems and process-based. For clinically based supervision we tend to work from the TAPES Model (Theory, Assessment, Process, Ethics, Strategies and interventions)
Supervision conversations tend to fit into one of the following four categories:
- Help me with a problem. This is a simple problem-solving conversation that helps you find a solution to a problem.
- Help me change my behaviour. You may find yourself feeling stuck with a client, staff member, colleague or supervisor. The supervision conversation helps you understand and/or change your attitude or orientation and the way in which you are interacting with that person, and as a result, you are able to be more effective.
- Help me extend my thinking. This is a very helpful conversation when you have recognised that you don’t have the right “map”, that there are limitations to your models, theories or thinking. The supervision conversation can help you plan for further professional development and/or the supervisor may provide a piece of training or information.
- Help me understand the beliefs behind my thinking. You may realise that you are being personally challenged by the work environment, that your beliefs, values, boundaries, loyalties etc are being tested. The supervision conversation can help you become more open-minded, more authentic as a person, more appreciative of differences and therefore able to be flexible and responsive and more reflective in your work and personal life.
If you work in management or are a small business owner you might not be familiar with the concept of professional supervision, however, you will probably have heard of or are familiar with workplace mentoring or coaching. Professional supervision as we provide it for managers and business owners is often very similar to the process of mentoring or coaching and is tailored to fit your particular circumstances.
Apart from being a very effective tool for the working through of workplace problems and issues, what are the general benefits of professional supervision/mentoring/coaching? Research, practice-based evidence, and personal experience clearly demonstrate the following benefits:
- Increased effectiveness with clients in clinical settings.
- An increased ability to think plan and act more strategically and manage risk more effectively.
- Recognition and modification of self-defeating beliefs, assumptions and behaviours, which in turn leads to increased effectiveness in organisational settings and in ones personal life.
- The development of better interpersonal skills.
- Reduced levels of stress and tension at both an individual and organisational level.
- Helps in developing a culture of trust and personal responsibility within an organisation and also with clients and customers.
- Can help significantly in the prevention of burnout.