Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Great Supervision Grows Great Professionals

Great supervision makes you a better practitioner/therapist/social worker/manager (substitute your role here)!

Bold claim? Maybe, but it is something I notice daily with those I work with, and one of the reasons I am passionate about supervision being an essential tool in maintaining your wellbeing in your work role.

One of the books on my school holiday pile is Rising Strong by Brene Brown – the latest book in her collection based on courage and vulnerability.

In chapter 2 Brown describes the process of “Rising Strong” following adversity. She talks about the Reckoning (experiencing an uncomfortable or painful situation such as an argument or failure and becoming aware of the emotional context around it), the Rumble (allowing yourself to be in the discomfort, to feel vulnerable and to learn from it) and the Revolution (making a decision on future action based on a choice rather than a fear or pain response)

I regularly experience this process being paralleled in supervision. Effective supervision offers a safe, non-judgmental space for the reflective process. This allows a practitioner to explore all aspects of what has happened in a challenging work scenario. These aspects can be the tangible (who did what, what was said, what was the outcome) and the intangible (what the supervisee felt, thought, was triggered by). Through this deeper understanding the supervisee is better able to make effective choices about resolving the current situation, or responding to their next challenging client intervention.

Professional supervision provides a confidential space to look at those aspects of our work performance (and our humanness) which we may not feel safe exploring with our colleagues/manager/friends, because a strong, mutually respectful supervision relationship allows for vulnerability. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable and disconcerting to explore and I often wonder if that potential for being vulnerable is a reason why some practitioners avoid participating in supervision.

Yet in my experience, those who effectively and regularly use supervision as a means for their own professional growth become even better clinicians, therapists, social service providers as a result. Just as important they are more resilient and less likely to burn out or leave the workforce.

Brown states “the opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions they don’t go away; instead they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, recognise our story and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes this is what happened, this is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”

So I stand by my claim, and issue a challenge to give supervision a try for everyone’s benefit.

Oh and if you have read this far – the image on today’s blog is of the lovely Langs Beach where we are spending time eeking out the last of the mild autumn weather during the school holiday break.