If you are looking for clinical supervision or a clinical supervisor, you are in the right place. The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) recommends that you ask your prospective supervisor the following questions:
- Is your supervisor acceptable to the professional Member Association that you belong to or wish to join?
- Is your supervisor on the PACFA Supervision Register or another register of reputable standing in the state in which you practice?
- Does your supervisor have an appropriate qualification to supervise in addition to more than 5 years experience in counselling and/or psychotherapy?
Research shows that many supervisors are informed by the models of therapy or professional theories they use in their own practice. They then apply therapy theory to supervision theory. This may be a useful approach. Yet if they use therapy theory as a sole lens for supervision, this leads to missing important information and can also lead to thinking about supervisees in therapeutic ways.
Supervision is not therapy
Supervision is different from therapy. It is a forum used by supervisees to reflect on all aspects of your clinical work, where you receive formal and informal feedback on that work and where the welfare of your clients and the quality of the service your clients receive is central.
Hawkins & Shohet discuss how to use their seven-eyed supervision model to address the complexity of supervision work. Their model recognises that a clinical supervisor uses different roles or styles at different times, and that this is also influenced by the particular focus of the work at the time. Theirs is a process model of supervision, which stresses attending to the processes that occur during supervision and within the supervisory and therapy relationships.
Hawkins & Shohet coined the term the “good enough” supervisor. It’s good for you to know that your supervisor does not have to be perfect, or get everything right. They believe that a primary and consistent role of the supervisor is to provide containment for you as a supervisee so you can more effectively reflect on and conduct your clinical work. This helps you remain centred and helps your clients receive what they’re seeking from their work with you.
My approach to clinical supervision
Drawing on Bernard & Goodyear’s (2007) categories of the main models used by supervision theorists and researchers, in my supervision work I utilise the developmental approaches and the social role models to construct with you an eclectic/integrationist approach to supervision. This means I employ an integrally informed model based on Wilber’s AQAL theory (2000) in combination with Carroll & Gilbert’s (2006) and Miller, Hubble & Duncan’s (2008) methods of getting direct feedback from you about our work.
An integral approach to supervision incorporates a wide spectrum of therapy models, developmental theories and accounts for social, cultural and spiritual influences in therapy and supervision. Wilber’s AQAL framework also entails acknowledging the varied levels of competence we’ve developed in our multiple intelligences, informing a comprehensive approach to my supervision work.
Your unique approach to doing therapy
My aim as a supervisor is to help you develop your own unique perspectives and approaches in your clinical and professional work, so as to enhance the service you provide for your clients. This can be maximised by encouraging you to get direct feedback from your clients about the outcomes they wish to achieve when working with you. In addition, getting your clients’ ongoing feedback about how they experience the working relationship with you is vital for growing your expertise as a therapist. The principles which govern my supervision work are:
- To tailor supervision to you as an individual
- To set up clear contracts
- To operate from a coherent framework
- To ensure my supervision method matches the content of the supervision you seek
- To consider your developmental level, cognitive and learning style as a therapist/professional
- To assess your skills on an ongoing basis
- To evaluate your outcomes.
- To support you in appropriate and comprehensive self-care. See my self-care video for counsellors, therapists & other professionals.
Get in touch with me
You deserve a well-trained supervisor if you’re planning to invest time and money in your work. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call me on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to discuss how I may be able to assist you.
Bernard, J. & Goodyear, R. (2007). Supervision Models: Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision (4th ed.). Ohio: Merrill, pp. 77-108.
Carroll, M. & Gilbert, M. (2006). On Being a Supervisee – Creating Learning Partnerships. Australia: Psychoz Publications.
Miller, S., Hubble, M., & Duncan, B. (2008). Supershrinks: Learning from the Field’s Most Effective Practitioners. In Psychotherapy in Australia, 14(4), 14-22.
Stober, D.R. & Parry, C. (2005). Current Challenges and Future Directions in Coaching Research, in M. Cavanagh, A. M. Grant & T. Kemp (Eds) Evidence-Based Coaching (Vol. 1). Bowen Hills : Australian Academic Press, 13-19.
Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology : Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston & London: Shambhala.
For more information: