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Supervision sessions and self care – counsellors have got it right

During my time as a counsellor I have been involved in a number of professional conversations where I find myself being proud of my industry and I’d like to share why.

Counsellors are required to hold supervision meetings with an experienced and often independent colleague. The purpose of the meeting is often to reflect, discuss situations, go through case work, de-brief and assess that self care is being given the priority it needs across different professions.  It can also include assessing workloads, themes of sessions, concerns, progress and topics for training to enhance knowledge.

Supervision meetings are generally supportive and used sometimes to challenge and support the supervisee to feel enabled.  Meetings are usually around two hours per month (sometimes more!) and allow people to express any concerns they might have.

I’ll be honest and say that in my early days as a counsellor it took me a while for me to understand supervision and the benefits of the meetings as I felt it could be timely and expensive.  However, the more sessions I attended, the more I began to grasp the idea and how it could be applied in different situations.

Recently, I’ve been speaking with HR managers, district nurses, care centre managers and physiotherapists, who were impressed by the power of the guidance and opportunities that something similar could offer them.

I found that the HR managers I spoke to often felt overwhelmed by the complexities of the personal lives of those approaching them for HR support. ‘Self care’ is something I was asked about and when I explained what it was it was clear that this was something that could benefit them.

Other examples where supervision and self care sessions can help those in caring professions include:

  • A physiotherapist feeling that while they have exemplary physical knowledge, there was little scope for them to learn how to deal with the ‘emotional stories’ presented by their clients.
  • A bank department manager taking time off after being put under pressure from dealing with other staff members’ personal issues.
  • A HR/recruitment managing director struggling to establish boundaries when dealing with other staff/organisations ‘off loading.’
  • A sixth form pastoral lead in a high achieving school concerned that her staff were feeling the strain.

I feel rather passionate about supervision and self care as I feel it cuts right across caring professions. This may have not always been the case as staff are now facing increasing demands to support their colleagues, pupils and clients.

By Sharon Senior. Sharon has been a counsellor for 10 years and has worked at Northorpe Hall Child & Family Trust for almost 4 years providing Training, Resources and Counselling

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