For me, one of the best things about working as a counsellor is the high level of professional support available to us. This comes largely through the medium of ‘supervision’. No – not someone literally watching over what we do in the therapy room; rather a professional commitment to reflecting on our work with a senior colleague to make sure we are being the very best therapists we can be.
If you are a counsellor or psychotherapist you’ll know that sometimes a client brings an issue that is very close to home – that’s when we need our supervisor to help us untangle our own reactions and make sure we’re not imposing our experience. As a client you can be reassured that supervision respects your confidentiality, has your best interests at heart and acts as a check against any blindspots or blocks your counsellor may have (we all have them). Imagine a world where helping professionals listened to trauma and distress on a regular basis but had nowhere to turn to manage their own feelings. Our profession keeps clients and therapists safe by insisting on supervision as a means for counsellors and psychotherapists to get support as we make our privileged journeys into our clients’ worlds – worlds which sometimes require us to come alongside great pain and suffering.
Armed with a wide range of experience as a therapist I last year qualified as a supervisor and now have the satisfying role of siting alongside fellow counsellors and other helping professionals, attending compassionately to them and to their casework. Most therapists strive to know themselves and their clients deeply. As a supervisor my role is often simply just to draw this out – offering a safe circle in which the delicate work of therapy is honoured and new insights are sought.
And supervision isn’t just for counsellors and psychotherapists! Outside of the therapy world, it is also a growing priority for support workers, complementary therapists and other helping professionals. Anyone who sees people in distress or pain and needing any kind of emotional or practical support, can find themselves carrying difficult thoughts and feelings home with them. Supervision addresses this, offering support and a place to explore how best to help your clients.
Requiring therapists to have supervision ensures that our profession remains transparent and soulful – no woman or man is an island and we are only as strong as the support structures around us. Therapists may not be superhuman but if we take our supervision seriously we can certainly be the best that we can be.
Briony Martin sees supervisees in Marlborough. As well as supervising counsellors, she has a growing practice offering supervision to helping professionals from outside the therapy world (e.g. support workers and holistic health therapists). Please contact her if you would like to explore working with her:
07774 325124 firstname.lastname@example.org
See Briony’s profile