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Should Supervision be a requirement for more front-line staff?

Supervision for counsellors is an essential requirement in the BACP Ethical Framework to maintain good practice. It states "Supervision provides practitioners with regular and ongoing opportunities to reflect in depth about all aspects of their practice in order to work effectively, safely and ethically as possible. Supervision also sustains the personal resourcefulness required to undertake the work."

What is Supervision?

To clarify, supervision discussed here is not line management, report writing supervision that you would assume from other occupations. A supervisor is not a person you report to or is in charge. Supervision in the counselling profession is more holistic within usual counselling boundaries, your supervisor is on more of an equal footing, they work beside you rather than judge your performance, criticise or check up on you. You review client work together, look at personal impact, your supervisor may suggest further training or highlight blind spots for reflection. In the words of Hawkins and Shohet "supervision can be a place where a living profession breathes and learns."

How Supervision can benefit a variety of careers

For me, supervision is invaluable. It's a space to reflect, review clinical work, a place to sit with any uncertainty, seek support and sanctuary when needed to prevent burnout. I value the relationship that allows me to learn, develop professionally and celebrate success. The appreciation though makes me wonder about other professionals who see and deal with tough, sometimes traumatic situations and how they cope? Policemen, ambulance crew, firefighters, doctors, nurses where do they offload? What about professionals that deal with safeguarding issues, teachers, social workers, support workers? Supervision for front line staff may help prevent burnout and stress, for teachers a place to regroup and rediscover their passion for teaching that has been buried under piles of planning and managing difficult behaviour in the classroom and for social workers a place to offload client cases in confidence. There are so many benefits to supervision not only for therapists but others too, I do wonder why it isn't an essential requirement for them also.

So if you're reading this, counsellor or not, but that you feel that supervision might benefit you too, please contact me to discuss further or see my supervision page.

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