What is supervision?
It can be useful to have access to an alternate perspective of your work - to see it as seen from outside the structure of the company or organisation can help you reflect on your own work in a different way. That is what supervision is all about. Once only found in the world of therapy, supervision is becoming increasingly important in all careers.
My primary roles as a supervisor are to facilitate your reflection on your work and also to facilitate your learning from your experiences. Learning in supervision is experiential learning. In the words of supervision expert Professor Michael Carroll "learning in supervision is transformational, not just transmissional". It should not be looked at as being in any way remedial, but rather an opportunity for informed and reflective dialogue leading to learning, understanding and more effective performance on returning to the work situation.
The Experiential Learning Cycle
The supervision space is a safe
environment for the supervisee to reflect on their work
and consider their successes and also those areas in which
they would like to improve. For workers in a high pressure
role, it is often the only opportunity they have to take a
step back and actually think about their work in a
non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere.
The cross-professional supervisor does
not need to be an expert in your field - that's what you
already are. The role is very much about
providing an alternative to that viewpoint, to open up
the supervisee's mind to different ways of thinking
about what they do, and how they do it so that they can
make their own, better decisions
for the future.
Who can benefit from Supervision?Anyone in any role will find supervision helpful, particularly people working in a stressful environment where there is no peer support on a day to day basis.
- Therapists, counsellors and coaches
- Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and other health professionals
- Social Workers
- Clergymen and women
- Gardaí, prison officers and military personnel
- Managers and team leaders
- Personnel and HR managers
- Self-employed business people and professionals
- People who work from home
- Anyone for whom communication is an important factor
By their very nature, counselling, therapy
and coaching make considerable demands upon practitioners
who may find they have become over-involved, or may have
overlooked some important point or perhaps have undermining
doubts about their own abilities. It is difficult, if
not sometimes impossible, to be objective about one's own
work and the opportunity to discuss the work in
confidence with a suitably trained person is invaluable.
Good therapy and good coaching also require the
practitioner to relate practice to theory and theory to
practice. Supervision can help them to grow in the way they
practice and in this sense is one aspect of continued
Being aware of the latest techniques,
interventions and developments in the world of psychology is
only part of the continuing professional development of
those in the "talking" professions. Supervision provides the
final piece in the jigsaw puzzle, that of self-care and
development of the practitioners own self-monitoring process
with regard to their work, and how they do that work.
Benefits for your clients
Supervision benefits the client by
strengthening and sustaining the practitioner's ability to
reflect, understand and provide patient/client care, and by
offering a valuable "second opinion", if needed. A relaxed,
focused practitioner with an innovative and flexible
attitude inspires relaxation and confidence in
It also provides quality assurance through the close monitoring of professional practice standards.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and many other healthcare professionals work in a high pressure environment, often working very long shifts with little, if any, break time. Most people in these roles are making important, sometimes "life or death" decisions on a daily basis, and have precious little time to stop and reflect on the work they are doing, or how they are doing it. Staff shortages and abusive patients are an everyday occurrence in many healthcare workplaces. Perhaps it is no wonder that stress and burnout rates are very high in the medical world.
Healthcare is ever
changing, and knowledge must be kept up to date, but there
is also a need to take an objective view of one's own
performance in this changing world. The medical
professional who is flexible in their thinking, and open
to life-long learning not just in their field of expertise
but also in the way in which they work is taking
a truly professional approach to their role.
supervisor provides an opportunity for the practitioner
to look at their work and their role from a perspective
that is different from the day-to-day tunnel vision that
is often the result of working in healthcare.
Supervision is a conversation in a supportive
environment designed to assist the supervisee in
re-assessing their priorities and learning how to feel
good about their achievements while managing their
workload more effectively. Supervision provides the
support that line management or professional bodies
cannot, and gives the supervisee a sense of balance and
control in their relationship with their work.
Benefits for your patients
A relaxed, confident
doctor, nurse or pharmacist is more likely to be a good
listener, and more likely to focus on exactly what his or
her patient really needs, and more likely to make better
choices with regard to their healthcare. This will also
cause the patient to be more relaxed and to have more
confidence in their practitioner.
Being a manager can
be lonely role, especially if it is not possible to
"compare notes" with peers. Perhaps your fellow managers
are on a different site, or maybe just in direct
competition with you! Workplace politics, deadlines and
targets, and balancing the expectations of bosses, staff
and customers can lead to stress and burnout.
supervisor is someone from outside the chain of command,
who can enable you to see your work from a different
perspective and gain a better understanding of
priorities, working relationships, methods and much
more. There is no fear of censure or discipline, there
is only support and encouragement.
Benefits for your workers, colleagues and
A manager who
is self-aware and is constantly working on their own
skills does not feel threatened by others in the team,
or by competition from peers, is better able to listen
and communicate and helps others to develop in a way
that benefits the overall goals of the team.
Teachers face a
variety of challenges in their day's work. Their role is a
lot more complicated than many people appreciate. In
addition to the actual business of teaching children and
managing the classroom environment, the teacher also has
to deal with the expectations of parents, school boards
and principals while navigating the politics of the staff
room! Many teachers also have administrative and
managerial tasks to undertake for which they may not feel
adequately prepared or trained.
supervisory environment is the ideal place to take the
time to step back and take reflective view of the
successes and the challenges in the various aspects of
the teaching role. An impartial outsider can provide a
perspective that colleagues within the same profession
are not able to do - in an impartial and non-judgemental
Benefits for your colleagues and your
Teachers know better
than anyone the benefits of the life-long learning
approach, and learning how to take an objective
viewpoint of your own way of working is just as valuable
as is academic learning. Supervision can offer the
opportunity for a teacher to be able to adapt their
teaching style to the varied learning styles of
individual pupils, much to their benefit. Learning to be
calm, tolerant and assertive in the staff room as well
as the classroom can also be helpful in growing better
working relationships with colleagues and superiors too.
Running your own
business is one of the most rewarding things you can do,
and often one of the most challenging too. After all, when
the decisions are all your own, who do you have to bounce
your ideas off? A supervisor is a neutral outsider who is
trained in the art of taking an alternative view, and
encouraging you to do the same. Supervision helps you
learn to take a balanced and multi-faceted view of
decision making - something that is not easy to do when
you are working on your own.
Benefits for your customers
Supervision leads to
an attitude of reflection and contemplating possibilities.
This allows the business person to become more flexible in
their approach and thus more attuned to the ever-changing
needs and demands of clients and/or customers. This is
essential in all types of business.
My aim is to tailor the supervision
sessions to your needs. It is important that you, the
supervisee, prepare for your supervision before each session
by thinking about the issues that have brought you
challenges (or successes!) in your work and being ready to
bring them to the reflective medium that is supervision.
Effective supervision is not about correction, it's about
reflection, which leads to deeper understanding, greater
confidence and improved performance.
If you would like to find out more about
how supervision could benefit you, your work, and the people
you work with and for - please give me a call and arrange an
appointment to chat about it. There is no charge, and no
obligation. My phone number is 021 487 6072 or you can
contact me via email by using this
One-to-one supervision sessions are carried out at my office in Cork by appointment only. If you are interested in discussing your supervision requirements and finding out more about the way I work please use the contact page to get in touch with me and organise an introductory chat, so that we can tailor the process to your individual needs. This would be free of charge and free of obligation. I believe it is important that you have the opportunity to meet your potential supervisor and for you feel at ease.
Supervision will be relevant to your work, your organisation and the challenges you face. It will enable you to reflect on your work in a supportive and non-judgemental environment so as you can improve your effectiveness in your role, and quite possibly reduce your stress levels too.
My fee for one-to-one supervision is €100 per session.
One-to-one supervision using Skype®
Skype® sessions can be a useful alternative when distance and travelling times make face-to-face sessions impractical. They are often the preferred choice for busy and experienced therapists and coaches. You need a broadband connection and a computer with both camera and microphone to be able to use this method. It is important that Skype® not be the sole modality for supervision. From time to time direct work, either one-to-one or in group supervision must be undertaken in addition to the online sessions.
I have not found Skype® to be satisfactory for group supervision work, and only use it for one-to-one sessions.
My fee for Skype® supervision is €85 per session, payable 24 hours in advance via PayPal or via cheque.
Skype® software can be dowloaded free of charge from this link.
I am not conducting group sessions at the moment as I do not have access to a suitably sized room at Riverside. However, should a group (up to five persons) wish to form for supervision purposes I would be most happy to facilitate this. Persons would need to be committed to active participation in the group and to regular attendance. Cost would depend on group size as it would necessitate renting a room for the purpose. Please contact me if you are interested in forming a supervision group.