QuestionWhat 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

              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.

Therapist Benefits for you as a coach, therapist or counsellor

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 training.

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 clients, too.

It also provides quality assurance through the close monitoring of professional practice standards.

MedicalBenefits for you as a healthcare professional

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.

A 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. 

LeaderBenefits for you as a manager or team leader

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.

A 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 team-members

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.

TeacherBenefits for you as a teacher

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.

The 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 way.

Benefits for your colleagues and your pupils

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.

BusinessBenefits for you as a business person

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.

YouIt's all about you!

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 link.

Supervision formats

One to oneOne-to-one supervision

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.

SkypeOne-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.

GroupGroup Supervision

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.

Coronavirus Covid-19

The current pandemic situation is difficult for everyone, but especially those already suffering from anxiety issues. I want to continue to help as much as I can.

Social distancing guidelines now mean that I am unable to offer face to face therapy for the next few weeks, but I haven't gone away totally. If you need to call to talk to someone please don't hesitate to do so. In some cases it may be possible to arrange therapy sessions by Skype, FaceTime or similar.

I'm here to help.

March 2020