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:
Are you starting out in private practice?
Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?
In this post, I want to talk about how you can develop self-awareness in supervision.
As you might or might not have noticed, this was meant to be last week’s post, but instead of apologising I am going to say that I am going to use it to the advantage of this post’s topic: self-awareness.
Because i’m so aware of my present physical health issues, I know that one or two weeks of the month my energy levels are low and therefore I need to “lower expectations” of myself and what I can achieve (I am getting this sorted, but it takes time to get everything done, in the meantime this is the plan!).
This self-awareness allows me to be honest with myself and lower expectations – some things are just going to have to wait. I prioritise my work with my clients and my students and rest in between sessions so I have energy to see them. I sometimes need to cancel a session or two if it gets really bad.
This just means I’m human, I’m aware of my limitations when exhaustion hits, and I keep myself and my clients and students safe by letting them know what’s going on.
My supervisor is aware of these issues and checks in every week (we meet for 30min every week) and we discuss what it was like to work like this, what it feels like to be struggling and still needing to work, the positive impact of helping my counselling clients, supervisees and teaching my students, has on my health (I do feel much better after each session! I love what I do!)
Self awareness is key. If I didn’t have this, I would probably continue scheduling all my social media posts (I spend at least 3-4 hours a week doing this!) and writing all the blog posts I have scheduled myself to write and publish every week, and so on. I haven’t done that this week as it would mean a headache and making myself more exhausted.
I am writing this today because I’m feeling a tiny bit better, and am making time for a meeting.
Anyway, enough of me, my ailments and working practices!
(I do hope it was even a slight bit helpful, an insight into the real life of a therapist and supervisor. We are human too and we shouldn’t shy away from being open and honest – to a degree of course – about these things, note you still don’t know what my ailments are and it’s not necessary for you to know, in order to empathise or understand where I’m coming from!)
Here are a few things that will improve in your practice and your relationship with your clients and your supervisor when you allow self-awareness to develop in every step of your work:
- when we are open and honest with ourselves and speak openly and honestly with our supervisor, we are allowing ourselves to
- understand ourselves better
- decide how we want to run our practice
- what is acceptable for us and what isn’t
- what makes us happy
- what upsets us
- what boundaries we need to tighten or put into place
- what are our strengths and weaknesses
- what areas we need to develop or improve so our interventions are more varied and helpful
- what we need to study a bit more through reading or CPD
- what happens when we are faced with difference or similarities between us and clients
- choosing a niche
- what clients we can see and which ones we choose not to (we are human, we might not like to work with a particular group and enjoy working with another)
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