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New Stuff Coming Right Up!

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Hello, hello!

It’s been about 2 months since my last post stating I was taking a break due to health and other reasons.

I’m pleased to report that the time off has done its job, and I’m feeling refreshed and ready to go again!


Since then, I’ve achieved the following:

  • Finished contracted work that was helpful at the time but is now not necessary as running my businesses is taking precedence. (I can still do relief shifts, which I plan on continuing as and when, the fact that it’s my choice now feels so much better!)
    • This means that I will have more time for my self-care, my relationships and my work, which I love (it isn’t really work!)
  • I’m sorting out my health issues, which has meant paying privately to get some answers (for those not in the UK – the National Health Service, NHS is free at point of service – we pay through our taxes).
    • I’ve got some answers and I’ve got something in place, which I’m hoping will help in my day-to-day. Hoping it means the symptoms that have been affecting me (exhaustion, foggy brain…) will be less taxing and life-affecting.
  • Refurbished my website, which seemed crucial for me to be able to move forward, for some reason!
  • I have a plan for what I want to do with my next year in regards to writing (books and blogs), social media, and new services and products I want to offer.

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A lot of new things have come up since then, which I actually need to pick up (I’ll send a message out to the relevant parties when I finish writing this post!)

  • Events via www.onlinevents.co.uk
    • I am participating in a few webinar events, presenting topics I’m passionate about. I’ve enjoyed participating in online interviews with John and Saz Wilson.
    • Here is my practitioner page, where you can find 2 past interviews
        • 20 Self-Care Habits – I presented my book (published July 31st 2018), and gave some tips for self-care, alongside my lovely colleagues that also had sessions that day on the Self-Care Conference. I’m hoping to be a part of this year’s conference as well!
        •  Creating a supervision model that works for your practice – I spoke about how I run my supervision practice, and why I believe that my integrated model is relevant for practitioners (one supervision theory doesn’t encompass all, and the 5 that I’ve integrated compliment each other very nicely and add different aspects that I believe are important for a great supervisory relationship).

       

  • In the next few months, I’ll be participating in 3 more events, which can be viewed for free when they’re being recorded, either on the facebook page or in the Zoom meeting itself (this is sent to you when you book the event).

     

      • September 3rd 2019 – Supervision “Pain Points”: What To Expect From Your Supervisory Relationship
        • Part 2 of my supervision webinars There is so much to say about supervision that I asked John if I could come back and talk about what practitioners should expect from their supervisory relationship to make the most out of their time and have it be a great, positive impact on their practice, development, and client work, which is the first purpose of supervision and practising as counsellors and psychotherapists.
      • To be announced – 2019 Self-Care Conference

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  • Ayanay Events
    • Face to face and online webinars
    • Ayanay is a new membership body that aims to offer Elevated services for their members and other colleagues that might want to attend the CPD services. They also have a novel perspective on accreditation, which won’t break the bank and reinforces the knowledge you’ve already gained. The story behind it is very powerful as well!
    • As part of the webinars and supporting Ayanay with providing clear, transparent and congruent information, I recently interviewed the Founders of Ayanay in a set of 6 interviews, which tell you a lot about the company, their purpose and the future.
    • The Business of Therapy Weekend.
      • In September 7th and 8th, I’ll be presenting a masterclass on Social media and content creation, which is similar in content to the event with onlinevents but I’ll be adding worksheets and other things to take away.

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  • Peer supervision groups
    • I find it important to continue to have conversations with colleagues, either through formal supervision or other types of groups, and peer supervision is one of them.
    • I’m meeting with local therapists for general group support, but also online with therapists that work with neurodiversity directly.
    • This offers an opportunity to increasing our knowledge and increasing the way we impact the therapeutic world with knowledge and expertise regarding neurodiversity.

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  • Facebook groups
    • I run a couple of groups that I’ve set up from my interests, and a few others that have stemmed from collaborations with colleagues and organisations:
      • Counsellors working with neurodiversity – Set up as a resource and a meeting place for UK counsellors to share their knowledge, expertise, events, CPD courses and/or workshops. In the areas for example of Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD; although not exclusive to these aspects.
      • 20 Self-Care Habits – Self -Care group – this group came about as a result of my book and my desire to add even more value to my readers and those wanting to develop their self-care activities in a supportive environment with like-minded people.
      • Content creation group Grow your private practice through adding value on social media platforms and promoting your services in an ethical and professional manner (linked to the events and services described elsewhere in this post)
      • Ayanay Open – a group designed to peak your interest in the membership, and be a part of it while you decide to join, or just to be in the loop if you decide not to join at this point. Social media posts are shared here, which will benefit everyone that shares.

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  • New services coming soon!
    • I’ve set up my directory of services, which encompasses everything I do and want to do, now and in the future.
    • Do have a look via this link to read a brief description of what’s yet to come (work in progress!) and what I already offer at this point.
    • The Dream to Reality service is one that I want to work on first, alongside writing, because I believe I can meet you right where you are, even if there’s no fancy ready-made programme to support you. A sounding board session or a few sessions might be what you need to get you back on track and clear about the topics I can help you with.

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  • Books to looks forward to!
    • I am really looking forward to putting my head down and writing. I write because I enjoy it and benefit from doing research and putting my ideas into paper. But I also enjoy adding value to the people that I can reach via my books and other stuff that I do.
    • You already know about 20 Self-Care Habits and my blog posts. I am looking forward to offering books on the following topics
      • Self-Care (part 2) – Responsibility issues 
        • I’ll say more as I develop the ideas
      • A non-fiction novel based on a recurring dream I used to have (as a psychodynamically based therapist, dreams are very important and telling, and the value I got from working through the dream in therapy is something I believe will benefit everyone, not only myself)
      • Content Creation – a practical guide to social media marketing, based on what I’ve learned so far and what has worked for me
      • Supervision – A compilation of the information I’ve gathered and found useful for my own practice and for my supervisees and all the clients that this has impacted upon
      • Children’s books on mental health topics – if we have good mental health from the start, and are able to be self-aware and work through our emotions with clear understanding and support, we are less likely to struggle as much as adults. The topics will be around every day stuff (I work with clients working through everyday life issues, so this makes sense and is congruent with how I work)

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In regards to this blog, in the next few weeks I’m going to be writing about the following topics:

  • Continue the Counselling Autistic People series
  • Content Creation Blog series
  • Supervision blog series
  • ad hoc posts as things come up for me, the mental health world, or other current events I might want to discuss from a therapist’s perspective

I am really excited for the next half of 2019 and the whole of 2020! 

I am hopeful that things will be much better health wise and with more time to look after myself, to engage more in my meaningful and close relationships – both friends and colleagues -, as well as giving my businesses the time they deserve and that I want to give them, that it will be a great time from now onward.

I’m not saying it wasn’t good or great already, but sometimes life gets in the way, and I wouldn’t be being congruent with myself or the people around me if I avoided talking about it or addressing those issues so I can better look after myself.

I practice what I preach, which is something I’m pleased about.


Until next time…


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It’s time for some Self-Care – Normal posting will resume in June

cropped-fullsizerender.jpgDear readers, and those following me on Social Media.

Due to some health issues I’m going to take some time away from my regular posting schedule, both via this blog and via social media.

Don’t worry, it’s not serious, but it does mean my energy levels are depleted some of the time, it varies week by week, some weeks I’m fine, others it’s awful!

That means that I am saving up the little energy I have to give 100+% to my counselling clients, supervisees and tutoring students. 

I am not happy about not being my usual self in regard to social media posting and blogging, as I love what I do here, so this is very frustrating and sad, but it is also necessary.


I talk about self-care – heck I wrote a book about it! – and I must be true to what I’ve learned and also practice what I preach. 

I do have an arsenal of posts that you can browse through while I get myself back on track.

I am in the process of freeing more time for myself, so in the near future (Bring on June and July!), I will have more time allocated solely to social media and blogging, which will be great!

Until then, I need to take it easy.


Feel free to ask me any questions or comment in this post, and others I’ve written in the past.

There’s series on therapy related topics (from your first therapy session, to anxiety, to spring cleaning!), relationships (more to be added in due course), autism (miniseries to continue in June), self-care (looking after yourself series), supervision content, and more!


Do have a browse in the categories or do a search and see what comes up, I might have written about it already!

If not, email me or contact me via the contact form and I’ll write one up in the second half of 2019.


I’ll probably do the odd post or re-post some of my oldies but goodies, but it will be much less than you’re probably seeing from me!

I know my readers and socials followers are lovely and understanding, so for that, I thank you, and I’ll see you soon!


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Autism/Aspergers – Working together in the therapy room (mini-series- pt.2)

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Hi, and welcome to this week’s post, part 2 in my series about working together in the therapy room with autistic clients.

In this post, I’ll discuss a few ways in which I might work slightly differently than with neurotypical clients, and how this will help those on the spectrum get their life back on track.

For these posts, I’d like to reference Katherine Paxton and Irene A. Estay’s book called Counselling people on the Autism Spectrum (chapter 3). 


If you missed part 1, read it here.

I’ve also written a few posts about what to expect on your first counselling session (read part 1 and part 2 here).

You can also click here for my other posts on Autism.


 

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I believe in the power of the therapeutic relationship, and having clear communication in how we are going to work in the room is important to start developing a relationship that will help the client understand what is going on for them and how to work through it with the help of their therapist.

In this post, I’ll talk about contracting, boundaries, how to approach each session, and how language can help or hinder the process.

 


Contracting and Boundaries

Contracting is an important aspect of any and every counselling relationship. I usually send my contract out and let the client read it on their own and during the session just ask if everything is clear and if they have any questions.

According to Attwood (2003, in Paxton and Estay), contracting with someone with Autism will need to be very concrete, both regarding the contract itself but also the issues and symptoms that will be dealt with.

Too broad and the focus will be lost. The process needs to be very specific.


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I find that with all my clients at different points of therapy, they might need a reminder of what was in the contract – one of the ones that comes up the most is late cancellations, but there might be others, like communication outside the therapeutic hour for things other than rescheduling or asking to confirm what time we are meeting next week.

This is no different with someone on the Spectrum – the only difference is the way it is said.

This will depend on where on the spectrum my client is – with some clients, I have pictorial contracts in the form of social stories (we will talk more about these in next week’s blog post), which are simple and short ways of defining what is going to happen, with whom, where and how.

I also have a summary of my contract, which might be too “busy” and a client might get over-sensoried or overwhelmed with too much information in the unabridged version.


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The how is another issue that all clients might struggle with.

 

The way of thinking, working and relating in the therapy room is very different from any other relationship.

The focus is on the client and not the therapist, who keeps self-disclosures to a minimum.

The first few sessions might be a learning about how the process works, why the therapist is asking this or that, which might require the therapist to be very concrete and clear on the purpose of each intervention and question:

how is this going to help the client, and why this seems to be a good question for the therapist to ask.


Some basic things that we need to get through to our clients on the first sessions, according to Paxton and Estay, are:

  • social ground rules for the therapeutic relationship
  • turn taking and sharing of information

    • what does the therapist need to know
  • contact outside of sessions and the purpose of this contact (usually for rescheduling or cancelling a session)

  • how the work requires a partnership between client and therapist – the client is not on their own, they have the support of their therapist to help them work through the issues that bring them to therapy at this point in time


Keeping it literal

I use metaphors in the therapy room.

Usually these metaphors come from something a client says and becomes something we can refer back to in future sessions.

 

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These metaphors are helpful as they are developed through the therapeutic relationship and the variety of interactions between client and therapist.

They are also helpful because they might point towards a certain pattern of behaviours or thoughts we might be working through with the client, which will help change the way they think about this and find better ways or new ways to be in the world.


Here is a difference when working with people with Autism: it might be tricky to understand that the therapist (or anyone else) is speaking using innuendo or double meaning.

This is why it is very important that the metaphor is developed with each individual client and not used at random – although sometimes this might also be helpful.

Another aspect of working with someone with Autism might be, as mentioned above, that emotions and feelings are not concrete entities.

Working might need to happen more at a thought level rather than a feeling level – reaching the feeling level through thinking about said feeling.

Also, if clients don’t see a specific thing as an issue (let’s say, in couples therapy), they might never mention it unless the partner or therapist bring it to their attention.


8Theory of mind is another aspect to take into account.

My autistic client might not understand that the way they speak to their partner is making them upset, or they might not see that a particular way of thinking is held only by them.

As I discussed in another post, people with Autism might have developed very intricate systems in order to practice empathy.

This might relate to very specific situations, which doesn’t mean the systems can’t be used to the therapy’s advantage.

As a therapist, it’s my job to challenge and provoke thought in my clients.

Challenging a particular system in a way that opens it up to other situations, behaviours, thoughts and interactions, will help the client develop their system of empathy (and other systems), which will help them develop more coping and relating mechanisms in their daily lives outside the therapy room.


Finally, processing times might differ from client to client, and this includes my Autistic clients.

Being respectful of this is key in my work with all clients, and being mindful that it might take a few tries and quite a few sessions for something to start clicking and making sense to my autistic client is very important.

Giving the client written notes of the sessions might help. As a firm believer in helping your client be autonomous, giving the client the choice of doing this themselves might be a good way to do this.

Some of my autistic clients bring their notebooks and write down what they feel is relevant for them to go back to during the week.

In future posts, we will talk about using creative techniques, such as diagrams, using the whiteboard and charts to find evidence for or against certain situations and ways the client might have worked through particular things.


I’m a big fan of celebrating all our wins, and this will be obvious in the work we do together.

I’m also a fan of working to the clients’ strengths, which in the case of autistic clients, might start with their ability to use visual thinking and concrete processing.


I hope you enjoyed this post.

Do leave your feedback at the bottom of this post and contact me if you want me to add anything or amend anything – I will not always get it right!


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Autism/Aspergers – Working together in the therapy room (mini-series- pt.1)

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Hi, and welcome to this week’s post, in which I’ll be focusing on a topic and group of people I’m very fond of and really enjoy working with.

I’ve written a few posts about what to expect on your first counselling session (read part 1 and part 2 here).

In this mini-series, I’d like to add a few things about how I might work with someone on the Autism Spectrum.


2I leave it as “Autism Spectrum” as it’s not a condition or a disorder, it’s a way of being, and this is the first thing I want my clients to understand — I get it, I get that you are individuals just like everyone else, and as such I’ll treat you like individuals and focus on those things that you want to work on, just like I do with everyone else, but taking into account the diverse ways of processing, thinking and being in the world you might come with.

The word “spectrum” also leads us to a broader aspect of Autism – everyone on the spectrum is different. I’ve never met two people on the spectrum that thought or behaved or had the same exact personality.

It’s the same as with everybody else, but it’s harder for some to understand because it’s something that’s just becoming more common place now to talk about, or to know a lot about for that matter!


(even professionals struggle with Autism, and this really needs to change!)


This is why I offer the service of counselling people on the Autism Spectrum, because I’ve learned through the years how to listen, how to talk or stop talking, how to work with people at different levels of the spectrum.

In my care job I have worked with people with severe to mild to high functioning autism, but the role there is very different of course.

In counselling I mostly see people with Aspergers or High-Functioning.

The topics I work on are very similar to the ones I work on with my other clients, but they might take a different meaning and way of working through them.

As you’ve read in my past posts about autism, for example, empathy is more of a structured process rather than a mainstream way of empathising, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.


3Click here for my other posts on Autism.


For these posts, I’d like to reference Katherine Paxton and Irene A. Estay’s book called Counselling people on the Autism Spectrum (chapter 3). 


I’ll leave an outline of what I’ll be talking about in the next posts of this mini-series.

If you have any questions or further suggestions, do let me know and I’ll be happy to add them to my blog posts!


Mini-Series Topics:


  • Contracting
  • Boundaries
  • Focus of the sessions
  • Keeping it literal
  • processing time
  • what’s behaviour due to “autism” and what’s just “human” behaviour
  • alternative ways of working – writing, play, diagrams, social stories (Carol Gray)
  • cognitive restructuring
    • working on the thinking process – empathy by the therapist is key
    • working on social cues and rules
    • responsibility
    • choices
  • using metaphors
  • addressing “set-backs” in the process of therapy
  • goal setting
  • problem-solving approaches
  • transitions
  • anxiety, etc.
  • autonomy helps with self-esteem and with our place in the world
  • how we talk to ourselves has an impact on how we behave and think
  • setting the client up for success

See you in next week’s post!


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Creating A Supervision Model That Works For Your Practice – Live Event

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Last week I presented a talk with John Wilson from onlinevents.co.uk, which was all about supervision and how to create a model that works for you.

I spoke about the different theories that underpin my model – I use 5 main ones that  cover everything from contracting, to ethics, to the more personal and relational aspects of supervision.

It was great to see the response, and to have provided some food for thought and, for some of the attendees, some new theories to use within their supervision practice.

Being aware of the theories that can be helpful for supervision and for finding what we need to be getting is also important.

I’ll be talking about the individual aspects I believe should be involved in supervision at different points of the supervisory relationship.

I’ve written about these in my supervision series blog posts which are ready to read now, via the “In Supervision” category. There’s a link below.

What supervision theories underpin your practice?


Here’s a round-up post of all the models I base my supervision framework on.

Have a look at this file for more on what I spoke about in the live event


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If you missed the free live event, you can catch up here.

It’s an affordable membership and very good CPD throughout the year.

I highly recommend them!


In the last year, I’ve created lots of content that I hope will be informative and interesting, for your practice and the way you approach your supervisory relationship (as a therapist) or your work with supervisees (if you’re a supervisor too!).

I’ll leave links here to the different pages, which can all be found through my main website and main supervision page.


*** VIDEOS ON MY SUPERVISION MODEL AND SUPERVISION POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND ***

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Click here to watch videos of me  explaining my supervision model. 

Click here for videos on supervision points to keep in mind.

Online supervision Videos – how does it work?

You can also follow all of these on Youtube or on the link above.

Click here to read blog posts related to the videos!



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What to expect from Supervision – personal development

new supervision blog post banner


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


Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding Reflective Practice  * Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding * Develop Self-Awareness * Working through tough times

Challenge how you work * Focusing on the Supervisee

Video: The Meaning of Supervision * Practice to a Safe Standard

Safe Space to Vent * Boundaries

Video: What’s effective supervisionSelf Care

A safe space to process *


Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.


As therapists, we know that we can (and sometimes might need to) access therapy for our personal development.

Supervision is seen as more of a professional development tool.

I hope that from past posts in this series, you can see the benefit of supervision on your personal development as well.

A brief summary, taking items from the previous posts, on how supervision can help with your personal development:

  • developing self-awarness helps us in the therapy room with clients, but it also allows us to work on our personal relationships. We can learn how to set boundaries and avoid resentments from and towards our loved ones, as well as learning how to meet our needs and not only everyone else’s. This is the self-care aspect of supervision.
  • As humans, we all need to feel contained and held at one point or the other. Practising allowing the supervisor to do this for us in our supervision sessions builds the ability to permit others to help us in our time of distress or need.
  • We might experience tough times in our lives that might require the support of more than one person – our therapist, our supervisor, our friends and family. All of this support will come in handy and help us get back on track and build our resilience to get back into the swing of things.
  • In supervision, the focus is mainly on you as a practitioner. Sometimes we might be introverted or not know how to ask for help or even be comfortable with the spotlight shining on us. The fact that supervision is a space where we talk about ourselves and ourselves with our clients is a great way to “normalise” the fact that we are also allowed in the spotlight at times.
  • We all have things we need to vent or get out of our systems. If we can’t do it in our supervision space, then we might need to reconsider our supervision arrangements!
  • Processing client material or situations in our work life is something to work on in Supervision. Sometimes the focus is on the clients, other times it’s on aspects of our work or life that need to be worked through in order to keep on top of things and be great practitioners.

Fancy watching a video intro to this post instead?

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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What to expect from Supervision – A safe space to process

new supervision blog post banner


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


Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding Reflective Practice  * Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding * Develop Self-Awareness * Working through tough times

Challenge how you work * Focusing on the Supervisee

Video: The Meaning of Supervision * Practice to a Safe Standard

Safe Space to Vent * Boundaries

Video: What’s effective supervisionSelf Care


Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.


There is something that happens in the therapy room that is replayed in the supervision room.

It’s called parallel process.

Of course, it doesn’t happen in the exact same way, but the general idea is the same.

Therapists are human too, and as such, we sometimes get overwhelmed by others’ stories.

If we get overwhelmed, surely we need to get support to work through the stuff that is causing us distress.

This is why the supervision space is so important!

We need to feel safe in order to talk about very deep stuff that might have been brought up by one or two of our clients.

It is important to do this, so we can continue to work with our clients and provide them with the support they need, without colluding or feeling stuck or unable to help them.

Processing emotions as they arise is key to keeping on top of the situations in the sessions, and it helps regroup and regain the strength and perspective to work with a particualar client or clients.

I find that working through issues in supervision renews my strength and gives me a new perspective of why I might have felt a certain way after a particular client session.

Figuring out what’s my stuff is also helpful, and I can then work through that and separate it from my client and the work we are doing in their sessions.

Do you feel safe to talk about these things in your supervisory relationship?



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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