What to expect from supervision – space for reflective practice

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As therapists, it is vital that we have a good support system in place for our professional and confidential work.

Personal therapy is one way in which we can get this support. Supervision is another, and it will be the focus of these posts.

In the next few months, I will talk a bit about 18 ways in which we should expect supervision to work for us.


I will discuss 18 things we should expect from our supervisory relationship in order to be accountable and working to a professional standard, for the sake of our practice, our profession, and most importantly, for the sake of our clients.


In this post, I want to talk about Reflective practice.

Gibbs reflective cycle theory is a great theory to break down your thinking and reflecting process down into manageable steps.

Your supervisor should be able to help you with this.



Here are the steps and how to make the most out of each one

  1. How did the situation make you feel?
    • Reflecting on what emotions the situation with your client brought up for you is important to process and work through them, so you can continue working and offering your client the best therapy service possible.
  2. What did the situation make you think about?
    • Reflecting on the situation with your client will also allow you to think about future situations and how you will handle them if anything similar were to arise again.
    • 3It might also make you think about gaps in knowledge which you can remedy by reading, or attending webinars or seminars on the topic.
  3. Can you see the positives among the negatives?
    • Every situation has positives, and hopefully this one does as well. Weighing the positives amongst the negatives will allow you to grow through the difficulties that present themselves when working as a therapist, and will therefore help you build resilience and confidence with a wider variety of issues.
  4. Reflect on what you got out of the three steps above: are things clearer now?
        • What can you see now that wasn’t obvious before you processed your thoughts and feelings on the situation and your client?4


    1. is there anything you could have done differently?
      • this is a “devil’s advocate” question that sometimes grates on me. So if it grated on you, you’re in good company!
      • Sometimes there is absolutely nothing we could have done differently.
      • But at the time what we did might not be the worst thing we could have done. It is what we had available to do at the time, and it was good enough, especially if it didn’t harm the client or the relationship in any way.
      • You can always go back and talk to the client about what happened, and try offering a solution the next time around. The great thing about therapy is we don’t have to have all the solutions, both you and your client need to dig deep into the client’s resources and find them together.
    2. what else could you have done?5
      • Hopefully from your reflections, you can now confidently answer this question, and you are taking steps to fill any gaps in knowledge that might have become aparent. You don’t have to know everything, nobody does!
    3. what will you do next time?
      • Lots of tools and skills should have been developed or at least you would have been made aware of how to use them for the next session with this client and for future sessions with other clients.




Follow this link for a video describing this process.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues, supervisees, supervisors and others.

The more we talk about what supervision should be about, what it should cover, and how it should support therapists in their private practice, the better equipped we all will be, and we will provide the a better service to our clients!

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: What to expect from supervision – Autonomous Practice « Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner

  2. Pingback: What to Expect From Supervision – Theoretical Grounding « Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner

  3. Pingback: What to expect from Supervision – Develop Self-Awareness « Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner

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