We very rarely see ourselves the way others see us. In supervision, insight and wisdom are amplified by the objective eye and non-anxious presence of our clinical mentors and guides. All practicing counsellors are required by their regulating bodies to be in supervision – in other words, to be in process with a clinically competent supervisor. Their job is to remain attuned, regulated, and objective while the counsellor discusses and explores their work with clients. Ultimately, both the supervisee and supervisor are in service to the client in therapy.
It wasn’t where I initially saw myself heading, but supervision has become a very satisfying component of my work and I now dedicate more and more of my time to it. This includes my role as a clinical supervisor at Western Sydney University, which involves mentoring a group of Master’s students as they navigate their year-long practicum. My work with students and supervisees is person-centred, and I aim to build trust and safety while working with them to reflect on and investigate their client work, professional relationships, and wisdom-seeking around self in a safe and congruent way.
While this work is challenging, I really enjoy it! Beyond the case consultation, I began to see how I could support others in process and practice, in their business acumen, in the ethics of care, and in their workplace relationships.
We don’t stop being people as we work with students, clients, and supervisees. I retrained to become a counsellor in my 40s, and I brought all of my lived experience to this work. I established a thriving practice and continue to invest in ongoing training and development. I now find myself in a place where my ‘intellectual property’ is, in fact, of value and merit. It’s most gratifying to know that the supervision work I do helps others, enabling and supporting them as they continue in their clinical work.
Ultimately, the counsellor/supervisee, the supervisor, and the supervisor’s supervisor are all working in service to the client! At all interdependent points, we provide safe places for insight, meaning, and change. I like to see and frame this as an ecology of care. As we care for each other, we repair, invite, and integrate parts of self and our individual self-stories.