SUPERVISION FOR ALTERNATIVE THERAPISTS
In most caring professions and indeed many other professions, Supervision has now become firmly established as a most valuable tool to facilitate professional development.
Supervision allows practitioners to explore and resolve many issues that could otherwise impact on their ability to create the working life they want and therefore affect their job satisfaction.
Supervision gives practitioners the support and guidance that they so often routinely offer to others.
WHAT HAPPENS IN SUPERVISION?
Supervision provides a safe space – a time which has been specifically set aside to reflect on your work and interactions with patients, colleagues and other professionals. You can discuss your work and your needs as a practitioner. You can receive feedback and a broader perspective on puzzles or things you want to change. You can work through issues and move forward with support from the other group members.
Supervision provides the opportunity to create the working life you want. It is not just about looking at problem issues; it is about continually developing as a practitioner and improving your skills to enable you to build a successful and enjoyable practice.
Supervision is an investment in your professional and emotional life.
As well as the satisfaction and pleasure that our profession brings us, practitioners also have challenges to face when working with certain people who may be troubled or are having problems.
Then there are the everyday issues around building/maintaining a business, being part of a family, managing time and money.
New practitioners venturing out on their own, and moving away from the supportive environment of training can face many daunting and unforeseen challenges. Experienced practitioners working on their own can become isolated, while practitioners in a group or clinic setting can face other challenges.
As practitioners become busier and more experienced it can become all too easy to take on too much work. This can lead to “compassion fatigue” and burnout.
WHAT AREAS ARE COVERED?
What can be covered in supervision is largely determined by the supervisor and the supervisee(s). Some common examples are:
Emotional response to patients
Often supervisees will also bring personal issues to supervision. This is fine; the supervision process is the same, but supervision is not intended to be a counselling session.
GROUP WORK OR ONE TO ONE?
Supervision Groups are intended to be on-going and fairly fixed in who attends and the frequency of meetings. I like to work with groups of 4 or 5 and suggest we meet every 4-6 weeks. In this way each member feels part of a supportive group and a great deal of trust and empathy builds between the group members (just like it does between a practitioner and a patient!). Where one supervisee has a difficult issue, help and support can be offered by the whole group. This is why it is important to attend even if you think you have no issues at the moment. Often, another group member will raise an issue that resonates with other members.
One to One.
Some people prefer to work on an individual basis. In this case it is not always necessary to meet every few weeks. Practitioners working in this way will usually arrange a meeting as and when they feel the need, or have a particular issue they wish to air. The advantage of this is an enhanced sense of attention and privacy.
Before becoming an acupuncturist in 1999, I worked in a demanding role balancing the needs of service users, service suppliers and higher management as well as managing my own team of professionals.
Since 2006 I have been part of a regular supervision group in the UK. Now that I am living in Canada, I have regular skype Supervision with my supervisor in England.
I trained in Supervision with Isobel Cosgrove and Sally Blades so that I could gain a greater understanding of the process and so that I could offer this invaluable service to others. I know how much Supervision has helped me and I want Supervision to be available to as many people as possible.
I believe that Supervision is one of the ways in which a profession shows its maturity and it is an important way for professionals to demonstrate their willingness to really develop and grow.
“If all our attention is directed firmly towards our practice, then we can accumulate a backlog of unmet needs and work-related issues. If these are left undealt with they undermine our sense of ourselves as competent practitioners. As practitioners we offer our patients guidance, support and encouragement. It seems a good idea to offer it to ourselves.” – Isobel Cosgrove
“The purpose of Supervision is to facilitate the learning and development of others.” – Sally Blades
Help for Students
I remember how hard it can be as a student. Trying to practice point location at home and wondering if I was compounding errors! Trying to get my head around Functions of the Organs or tricky ethical issues.
As a qualified acupuncturist, I went on to teach point locations for over ten years to students at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York. In that time I have helped to train hundreds of acupuncturists.
I also taught body energetics, clinical skills and ethics as well as running a student group which provided a forum for informal questions and discussions.
I am very happy to help students either individually or in small groups who would like a little extra support during their training. Please contact me to discuss your needs.
Supervision and tutorials are always in the strictest of confidence.